Put yourselves in their shoes. Parents are, as we all know, time poor. They seek convenience, short-cuts and, like all of us, tend to shop on auto-pilot. However where parents shopping for families differ from other households, is in the fact that they are the gatekeepers and the ‘proxy’ decision makers.
Whilst kids make their brand choices ‘upstream’ from the path to purchase, parents are ‘downstream’ weighing up the needs of each member of the family against their own criteria, their own attitudes and bias, and the needs of the household budget. With that comes risk. As the decision maker on brands, by proxy, parents can get it wrong, which, with dissonance, means wasting money.
In seeking to become fluent in family, we do put ourselves in their shoes, to understand the flow of information from upstream to downstream, child to parent. We consider how this occurs and how, as the digital, media and retail landscape changes, businesses can stay apace with change and even shape futures.
We know that, when adults start a family, have just had their first newborn child, the main carer, usually mum, takes on the role of a semi-professional bargain hunting, product sourcing, money saving expert! For a while, parents gravitate towards different but complementary roles within the home, with one parent making the purchase decisions, on goods, consumable or durable, and the other on services.
All families evolve, their roles evolve as kids grow older and the balance and format of inter-generational influence changes.
So we track those changes in the family home. We go ‘deep under cover’ with ethnography, and take a macro stance by monitoring the attitudes and shifts between family segments across a range of categories, be they food grocery, health and beauty, family days out / leisure time, eating out, sports goods, household durables, toys and games video games, baby equipment or care. We test brand concept appeal across families and conduct innovation workshops to identify good ideas to resolve the competing interests of each family member.