Home > Ketchum Launches First-Time Parents Audience Specialty

Ketchum Launches First-Time Parents Audience Specialty

Study Identifies Seven Distinct Moments on the Journey to Parenthood

Alicia Stetzer                                       Sara Garibaldi                       
+1-646-935-3910                                +1-646-935-4097                     

NEW YORK, May 2, 2017 – First-time U.S. parents are older on average than they were in previous generations, and many are transitioning into parenthood after spending more time building their careers and independent lives. To help brands better connect with and support new parents during this milestone event, leading global communications consultancy Ketchum introduced its Brand New Parents audience insights specialty.

Ketchum’s “Brand New Parents: The Journey to More Than Me” study surveyed approximately 400 first-time parents in the U.S. with a child under the age of two, including men, women, married couples, single parents, adoptive parents, and adults who became parents via surrogacy, and found a disconnect between brands and this generation of first-time parents. Based on the results of the survey, Ketchum has identified seven distinct moments new parents experience along their journey.

Sara Garibaldi, director of the New York Brand Marketing Practice and head of Ketchum’s Brand New Parents specialty, said, “Interestingly, across the wide range of new parents we surveyed, the responses showed us that new parents experience the same excitement, fears, overwhelming feelings and need for support. Their journey to parenthood is universal, and we found that there is a great opportunity for brands to better communicate with and engage first-time parents along key moments of their journey.”

One of the key findings revealed that just one-third of parents (31 percent) said advice received from brands was helpful, with 37 percent saying it was not helpful, overwhelming, annoying or condescending. Moreover, 26 percent said they received no advice from brands at all.

“The survey tells us that today’s new parents find the amount of information available to be overwhelming, and that they believe brands can be better aligned with their values and helpful in supporting them every step of the way as they prepare for their new baby,” added Garibaldi.

Seven Brand New Parents Distinct Moments

Through its Brand New Parents specialty, Ketchum aims to help brands build a deeper and more authentic relationship with new parents by tailoring communications to key moments along the journey to parenthood. These moments include:

1. Perfect Nursery. Designing and furnishing the baby’s room is a labor of joy for many parents, and it is in this area that they are most willing to splurge, despite feeling some financial stress. At the early stages of the journey, brands need to ensure they make a strong first impression.

2. This is Normal, Right? While 74 percent of first-time parents say research helped reduce their stress related to becoming a parent, about the same proportion (73 percent) acknowledged there was an overwhelming amount of things to learn. As research anxiety kicks in, brands have an opportunity to be an easy and helpful resource.

3. Shop Your Worries Away. First-time parents’ mission to feel prepared can lead them to over-buy – only 22 percent of new parents surveyed said they had used all of the baby products they bought or were given in the past year. It is important that brands build a stronger emotional connection and make new parents powerful advocates to avoid being a returned item on their long checklist.

4. Lean on Me. Partners (46 percent) and their own parents (27 percent) provide the greatest emotional support for expecting parents, making them powerful influencers along the journey. Brands are far behind in providing guidance (only one-third of new parents find advice from brands helpful), and must find ways to be part of this extended support system.

5. Identity Theft. About seven out of 10 first-time parents believe their lives became all about their children when they became parents. Many struggle with loss of freedom as they establish their new identity, so brands should be mindful of that sensitivity. While new parents feel a sense of fulfillment from being a parent, they don’t want that to entirely define who they are.

6. Embrace Realism. One-third of respondents (34 percent) said the first three months at home with their new child was the most difficult period as a first-time parent. During this moment, brands need to assess their tone and ensure they embrace the realness and struggles of this new stage via an authentic voice.

7. Parenting with Purpose. First-time parents have much higher expectations of brands as it relates to purpose. More than half (54 percent) say they have been more supportive of brands who do good (for charity) than before having children, and 49 percent say they have donated more to causes that support families and children in need.

Ketchum is offering a range of services to help brands engage first-time parents, including a Landscape Audit of traditional and social brand communications and recommendations on leveraging the seven distinct moments, Real Talk Roundtables and Parents “On Call” focus groups of new parents, and a Voice and Purpose audit that assesses brand tone of voice and corporate social responsibility efforts and provides recommendations on connecting authentically with new parents.

More details and findings from the survey can be found at

As part of its Brand New Parents specialty offering, Ketchum plans to expand on this initial research within the next year by digging deeper into new generations of first-time parents and examining how the journey drastically changes for second-time parents.

About Ketchum’s Brand New Parents Survey
Ipsos conducted an online survey of 389 first-time parents in the United States on behalf of Ketchum. Respondents consisted of first-time parents who had a child under the age of two. The survey was conducted in February 2017. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percent.

Additionally, Schlesinger conducted online bulletin board focus groups with 20 first-time parents in the United States on behalf of Ketchum. The research explored new parents’ experiences of becoming first-time parents from conception to the second year of parenthood. Online bulletin board data collection was handled by itracks.

About Ketchum
Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. The winner of 19 Cannes Lions and an unprecedented five PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, visit

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group
 is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.


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