LONDON: Marketers need to move away from portraying clichéd family moments in order to better reflect the more diverse realities of today's families, according to new research.
The Modern British Family report, from Haygarth and Flamingo, was based on an in-depth qualitative study among eight families with children aged between 10 and 16, and a quantitative study of 1,000 parents, exploring their attitudes, needs and moments of influence.
This highlighted the democratic and collaborative nature of families in the UK in 2016, as 95% said there was need to balance the needs of each member of the family with the needs of the family unit as a whole.
And that same outlook was reflected in the finding that 72% agreed there were no fixed gender roles in their families.
The influence of older children across a range of purchasing decisions was also evident, with 13-16 year olds having around a 40% say in the "balance of decision" on family holidays and days out, and almost 50% in determining what takeaway will be eaten.
Parents naturally experience varying degrees of anxiety about how their children are growing up and the research observed that more rural parents (69%) were concerned about their children's happiness than their urban counterparts (58%).
It added that parents look for increased control when they feel uninformed about their teenage children's firsts and suggested there was an opportunity for brands to facilitate information to create reassurance.
"Of course marketers are familiar with the idea that modern families come in all shapes and sizes but our research reveals brands are increasingly struggling to engage and address them as a 'group'," said Andy Davidson, co-managing director of Flamingo London.
"Identifying the common threads and moments that all types of families share is essential to creating products and communications that can live authentically and thrive in homes across the UK," he added.
The research identified six key need-states families are looking to answer when balancing the individual and collective desires of the family unit whilst considering immediate and aspirational needs: connect, celebrate, release, protect, control and clarify.
Data sourced from Haygarth; additional content by Warc staff