Understanding families: How to craft persuasive campaigns
by Sharyn Minton

There are around 8 million families with one or more dependent children in the UK, making up a substantial and highly valuable segment of the consumer market. And while this grouping encompasses a diverse range of family structures, including nuclear families, same-sex, single-parent households and extended families, the one thing they all have in common is buying for children. So, what messaging resonates in 2024? Here’s how to understand the family audience in the UK…

Family decision making dynamics

Let’s start with who you need to reach. It’s going to vary depending on what’s being purchased. For example, mothers still disproportionally do the family food shop, with 58% of females saying they do most or all of the food shopping vs. only 26% of men. Outside of mortgages / rent and household bills, this is most family’s biggest monthly expense.

A shift in spending priorities

Given the recent tough economic climate, half of UK consumers are reconsidering their spending priorities according to Retail Week’s How They’ll Spend It 2024 research. The same survey found that trading down to supermarket own-brands was prevalent, with over 50% of consumers saying they’re buying more own label products, which is obviously a major challenge for big brands.

The UK family market’s spending behaviour reflects a balance between essential expenditures and discretionary spending. Increases in spending were notably seen in categories like transport, recreation, restaurants and hotels although these remained below pre-pandemic levels. Conversely, spending on food and non-alcoholic drinks decreased slightly​​ (ONS, 2022).

Value for money has become a crucial consideration for many parents who have been grappling with the cost-of-living crisis. Recent research from The Children’s Society found that 82% of parents were either concerned or very concerned about their finances this year.

So, let’s look at the key factors influencing parental purchasing decisions and try and understand parent’s motivations, concerns and aspirations, starting with value for money…

  1. Value and budget considerations

Value for money has become a crucial consideration for many parents in 2024. Products and services that offer tangible cost saving benefits are more likely to resonate in the current climate. Think about how you can communicate value to parents in campaigns this year.

2. Practicality

An extension of value for money is practicality – they’re inextricably linked. Products or services that address real-life challenges are more likely to gain traction in tougher economic times.

3. Emotional appeal and connection

Parents are highly driven by emotions when it comes to family-related purchases. Campaigns that effectively tap into these emotions can significantly sway their buying decisions. Any credible claims you can make around benefits to children’s wellbeing are powerful – who wouldn’t want something that can improve their child’s outlook? Visual elements and emotional cues are powerful tools in connecting with parents. They can elevate an ordinary campaign into an impactful and memorable one.

4. Brand trust and reputation

Brand trust plays a significant role in parental decision-making. Maintaining a strong, positive brand image is vital for long-term success in this market. Parents’ top priority is often the safety and security of their family. Campaigns that address these concerns can be particularly impactful.

5. Relatability

Prioritise storytelling. Employ narratives that parents can relate to, reflecting their experiences or aspirations, as these are incredibly effective in engaging this audience. Essentially, your narrative needs to be clear, relevant to the challenges of real life, and aligned with parental values and concerns.

To discuss how you can reach and engage family audiences effectively, contact our expert team today.

February 1, 2024

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