Brand New Parents: What to Expect from Brands When You’re Expecting

A few months after returning to work from maternity leave as a first-time mom, it really hit me how life-changing of a milestone becoming a parent for the first time is. And it’s not until you go through it that you truly begin to understand and appreciate everything that comes along with the journey.

In seeking out parents around the office to both share my experience with and jog down their own respective memory lanes, I realized how being a new parent today is very different than just a few years ago. From the constantly evolving guidelines from the American Pediatric Association and new products that can single-handedly soothe your baby to sleep, to conflicting opinions on everything from feeding to sleep training, each generation of new parents navigates completely unchartered waters. Even more unique is that today’s generation of first-time parents are older, and more established in their lives and careers, making the transition to parenthood even more complex as we’ve focused on ourselves for longer periods of time.

My personal experience of becoming a mom led me to want to dig deeper into first-time parents. The result is today’s launch of Ketchum’s “Brand New Parents” specialty. It’s an audience many of us will become a part of for a very brief moment in our lives, it’s a milestone we only experience once, and it’s a very different journey from the second time around.

As a mom and a marketer, my goal in surveying first-time parents was to uncover insights that will help marketers as they navigate how and when to best engage this target along their journey. At the same time, from the viewpoint of a recent first-time parent, I asked myself what are those moments that matter most during the journey? While digging into the data, the results showed us how universal the experience is. We all go through the same excitement, fears, anxiety and overwhelming feelings, and experience the same seven distinct moments.

Seeking an emotional escape by preparing the nursery; experiencing research anxiety as you sort through the overabundance of information at your fingertips; feeling pressure to check off that long list of “must-have” products; finding the right resources to lean on for emotional support; feeling your identity being re-defined by your newborn; feeling its taboo to talk about how hard it is; and all of a sudden viewing the world through a completely different lens of purpose, are just some of the distinct moments that give brands an opportunity to authentically join new parents along the journey.

Sitting on both sides of the fence, it’s tough as a new parent to sort through the multitude of brands that want to capture your attention. This is probably why we force ourselves to check off long lists of “must-have” products that we don’t end up using. And putting my marketer hat on, capturing this critical audience, who can be the strongest advocates of your brand as they grow their family, is no easy feat.

As I sit here in my third trimester expecting my second child, it’s a vivid reminder of how unique the first journey was, and my hope is that the Journey to “More Than Me” study simplifies the process for both first-time parents and marketers, and encourages both sides to make the journey the beautiful life moment that it truly is.

Sara is the Managing Director of Ketchum’s Travel & Economic Development sector. She is a seasoned public relations/marketing communications professional with a MBA (in both Marketing and Finance) and 15+ years of experience leading fully integrated marketing communications campaigns across a diverse number of industries. Sara was named to PRWeek’s 2014 40 Under 40 list.