New report by Saatchi & Saatchi London and Mumsnet reveals the seven habits brands need to attract mums

A ground-breaking new study by Saatchi & Saatchi London and Mumsnet was launched this morning at the mother of all conferences, Mumstock - the annual marketing conference for mums. The report, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective Brands’ exposes for the first time, the real reasons why some brands are highly effective with mums and why others fail.

Debunking some fundamental marketing beliefs held by the industry, the report reveals that most brands deprioritise the things that matter most to mums. These include helping to shed precious time for time-poor mothers whilst making the buying process engaging, interpreting data research correctly and being generous by offering consistent and genuine bargains.

Brands that continually put price deals unashamedly front and centre of their business not only win the hearts of mums but also keep them coming back. Revealing that if businesses couple this with the gamification of their shopping experience, this will help to create a win-win situation – not only generating a sense of intrigue and curiosity but also producing a dopamine hit for the shopper. The reward of bagging a bargain both online and in-store, hardwires people to keep coming back. These deals and promotions however need to be generous, genuine and run throughout the year, rather than just at key times and also need to be elevated within the wider marketing mix to centre stage to retain customer brand loyalty.

Creating an enjoyable customer experience isn’t a new trick but often, brands place emphasis on the wrong things. They instead, need to elevate the tactical and spend more time thinking about the customer journey. In particular with retail, care should be placed on the store environment and children should be considered alongside parents. When every second to mum counts when they’re using services and shopping, helping to save a second here and there, makes a huge difference. Methods including different store layouts and aisle placement can aid to make shopping much easier for mums and increase loyalty.

A common perception held in the UK is that brands need to act with a degree of modesty, particularly compared to their US counterparts - even going as far as self-deprecation - to engage modern mums. However, the research uncovers that taking a hard-sell approach can be a winning strategy and can pay dividends - providing that the driving force behind the hard-sell approach is a collective inner-conviction in what they sell and, crucially, that this inner conviction is visible to mum.

Another common myth is that brands believe they shouldn't tell mum what to do or how to be. Conversely, mums want brands to be directive and to make them better, providing their intentions are driven by genuine passion and an end goal that chimes with them too.

New businesses to the market often feel they can’t compete with heritage-rich brands in the market. Contrariwise, the report reveals that what really matters to mums is that brands act with integrity and stay true to their founding principles and origins. Proving that brand stories always matter: no matter what challenges brands face within their market and no matter how new they are, as long as they have strong, visible guiding principles and stay true to themselves, mums will remain loyal.

Debunking another commonly held myth, most brands believe they need to be better than the competition to succeed. However the report indicates that brands should go above and beyond to offer their best possible instead, striving for more whilst taking a pro-safe approach. The brands that go above and beyond, driven by a collective passion and belief and a sixth sense for what mum really wants, can re-write what success is defined as and win out in the long-term.

Brands that take on and emulate mum habits enable consumers to see the human element behind the business and not just a faceless conglomerate. Day-to-day this translates as staff with personality and who show a unified brand passion. Brands are the people behind it not the ‘brand personality’ and although marketers refer to customer loyalty being paramount, employee loyalty matters even more. True customer loyalty arises when employees are loyal and when their understanding of what mum wants becomes a sixth sense.

Lastly, brands need to learn how to interpret their data. Many marketers think that being customer centric means asking more questions or asking the right questions. It's actually far more about looking for patterns - in data and in shopper behaviour. These patterns will reveal answers to the questions they never thought to ask and show what mums actually want. If the results and newly acquired data are tackled with fluidity and responded to quickly then brands will reap the rewards.

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said, “All marketers want to hit the sweet spot where customer perception, need and convenience overlaps with brand identity, integrity and development. This research will help them to do just that, giving valuable insight into what really works.”

The report reveals the seven habits and forty-four underlying behaviours adopted by highly-effective brands and took six months to compile. The research studied habits from both sides – through the lens of mum and the lens of marketing. It mined habits through ten different focus groups with mums and in-depth interviews with leading marketers. The habits were then quant-tested with 1,000 mums via Ipsos Mori. Several well-known brands didn’t make the cut – although they displayed a few habits, they weren’t strong enough across the board to drive effectiveness consistently over time.

In addition to the report, Saatchi & Saatchi London has created a unique brand habit tracker for all brands, regardless of size. With the new tool, brands will be able to measure their own performance against the seven habits and forty-four gestures as well as track their performance against key competitors and category benchmarks.

Through a rigorous six-month process of habit mining, Saatchi & Saatchi explored the brand habits from the perspective of mums, via qualitative research conducted by Sparkler as well as quantitatively using Mumsnet own Panel. They also explored it from the perspective of the famous marketers behind many of these winning brands. The research revealed not only the seven habits that drive effectiveness, but also the forty-four visible behaviours, or ‘gestures’ manifested by each habit. They then partnered with Ipsos Mori to measure brands and categories against the seven habits, with their unique habit-tracking tool, the first of its kind in the world. These are the seven habits of highly-effective brands:

  1. SORCERY: The habit of acting like a wizard and casting enchanting spells to win over the crowds. This magic is powered by collective faith in the brand’s founding beliefs – a faith so strong, it drives employees to want to spread the word.

  2. ELASTICITY: The habit of acting in an elastic way, as a consequence of being wired and structured that way. Like gymnasts, these brands stretch and twist to accommodate different needs and move in line with consumers or the market.
  3. SHOWMANSHIP: The habit of always acting like a real performer, driven by genuine belief in the integrity of their wares. These brands are so motivated to share what they do, they create grand spectacles, present everything with flair and panache and go above and beyond to demonstrate their point.

  4. ATTENTIVENESS: The habit of acting like a butler at all times, driven by a sixth sense – an intuitive understanding of mum’s needs and wants.

  5. PRECISION: The habit of always being as clear, precise and direct as possible, driven by a streamlining mentality and paired down internal structure. These brands act like master archers, always calculating the most efficient way to hit their bulls-eye.

  6. INTEGRITY: The habit of always acting with integrity and staying true to founding principles and origins, no matter what challenges a brand faces, driven by an innate respect for the brand’s story. These brands are like preachers who adhere faithfully to the original scriptures.

  7. ENHANCEMENT: The habit of acting like a coach. This habit has its roots in collective passion for the brand and an eye on the end game. These brands regularly empower mum or enhance her in some way, to help her to become a better version of herself.

To read the full report, visit:  

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