- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 17 July 2012 23:42, Updated 18 July 2012 05:26
Almost 20 per cent of Australians can’t remember the last time they thanked their mum.
I have just finished reading BRW’s cover story from last week, “Marketing to Mothers” by Jackie Range. One comment by Professor Jody Evans jumped out at me: “I don’t think I had ever been as easily influenced by marketing as when I was pregnant because you’re terrified. You’re terrified of doing something wrong.” And that sense of terror is, as Evans states, “incredibly motivating from a consumer aspect”.
Of course, new-parent anxiety can sometime border on paranoia. Hence the baby monitor I have with “sensor pads” that trigger an alarm if the baby stops breathing – something James Bond might buy for his first-born.
This anxiety about “whether I am doing the right thing” might diminish somewhat (especially after the first child) but it never really goes away.
The Ipsos Mackay Report recently released a report titled The Working Mum; it’s based on conversations between 12 friendship groups of women working more than 30 hours a week with at least one child at home. All of these women were doing their best (and largely succeeding) to meet the expectations of partners, children, employers and the rest. But in their more reflective moments they kept wondering – I’m working hard but am I getting it right? In one group I conducted, a single mother of six kids, working full-time as a disability worker, captured the mood poignantly with this comment: “It’s hard accepting you are OK, that you are doing a good job. Are you doing the right thing? It’s all you think about.” Helping mums feel in control – whether they are in paid work or not, caring for newborns or teens – is something brands can tap into.
Our report reinforced something else marketers and advertisers have long understood, namely the power of gratitude. Good on ya, Mum. You ought to be congratulated. Etc. Much of the frustration felt by the mothers we encountered in our research came from feeling that their efforts were not acknowledged or appreciated by their partners and children. Being appreciated somehow made the demands of work and family life feel like less of a burden. As one working mum put it, “if the appreciation’s there, sometimes you don’t mind doing it”.
Ipsos recently conducted some quantitative research for Procter & Gamble to further back up this insight. The P&G Attitude to Gratitude survey released just before Mother’s Day found that only 22 per cent of mothers wanted gifts such as flowers or new clothes, compared to nearly 35 per cent who would just like to hear “thank-you”. Sadly the survey also found that almost 20 per cent of Australian respondents could not even remember the last time they thanked their mum and only 13 per cent thank their mum daily.
So there is mileage in well-executed portrayals of appreciation and acknowledgment of all the daily, little things mums do to keep a family going.