With Father’s Day just around the corner in the U.S., it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on what it means to be a father or “Dad” today. The long standing tradition of the stoic, uninvolved father has been challenged for many years, but now more than ever we are seeing evidence of Dads redefining their role as parents. That re-DAD-fining (sorry, couldn’t resist), combined with a beautiful and inclusive re-definition of what a “family” is, has paved the way for more people to be open and engaged parents and for more children to have a meaningful connection with those parents.
For marketers looking to communicate with the male audience, it is important to be aware of the new attitudes and behaviors of fathers today. As dads’ roles are re-defined, so is the way we communicate with them (click to tweet). Traditionally, when reaching out to parents, many marketers were solely focused on Mom. But Dad is playing a much more involved role in family life today. He is helping to run the household and making purchase decisions. And, most importantly, he is actively involved with raising the children. A few key things to keep in mind:
- Dads are diverse so a one size fits all approach will not work
- Dads are not filling in for a now busier Mom, they are playing their part with gusto and should be recognized for that
- Dads have more emotional relationships with their families than ever before so the old trope of Provider and Protector may not resonate
Along with this dedication to “Dadness” comes the rise of the “Dad Blogger.” While the “Mom Blogger” has existed for quite some time, the ranks of Dads who blog were pretty slim until recently. With that in mind, I decided to tap Ketchum’s own resident Dad Blogger, Jim Lin, to better understand this group of individuals. Jim took my ask a step further and introduced me to his Facebook community of like-minded fathers and sent out an APB for content related to: Stories of Fatherhood – the good, the bad and the messy. The response was overwhelming, too many to feature in this blog post, so stay tuned for more stories throughout the rest of this year because they are too good not to be told.
Here are some images, videos and quotes that were submitted about what it means to be Dad today, and some things I learned by reviewing all of these wonderful stories:
“One of my favorite parts about being a dad is sharing things that I loved when I was a kid.”
Insight: Being a Dad can be like getting into a time machine that takes you back to your own childhood. How thrilling to show your kid your childhood favorites and re-live the excitement all over again through their eyes.
“Everything I know about being a good dad comes from witnessing one of the very best in action. If I can give my kids even close to the life my father gave to me, I will be thrilled.”
Insight: Nostalgia plays a big role in being a father. We found so many stories of dads trying to be as good a father as their own.
“Being a dad has changed the way I think about myself and the world around me. To begin each day with the words, “Good morning daddy,” is the best way to start a day.”
Insight: It’s not ONLY about what you do for your kids. Unconditional love is a two way street. The Dad gets as much out of being a parent as his little humans get out of what he teaches them every day.
“Sure, someone might lose an eye, but that’s half the fun of it.”
Insight: Fun and joy are big part of parenting. The important things you teach your kids make them who they are but the fun and silly times are something they will never forget.
“I’m proud to be the father and stepfather to six kids. Fatherhood is an ebb and flow of ups and downs, a job you never perfect and a job that never ends. Fatherhood is 24/7”
Insight: Dads and families come in all shapes and sizes and, like anything in life, require dedication and work. But it’s what comes from the heart – that pride in your beautiful family – that gets you through more difficult moments.
Insight: Play and learning go hand in hand. When you can connect with your kid both as their teacher and playmate you get amazing participation and engagement.
This Father’s Day, whether you are a Dad, considering becoming one or simply honoring your own father figure, I hope these quotes inspire you to remember your own best times and shared experiences. It is those memories and stories that last forever and shape who we are. Those memories of laughter and love are a much better gift than yet another neck tie. Happy Father’s Day!
A big THANKS to all the dads who sent in your favorite moments.