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Mums relate to diverse identities

News, 16 March 2016

LONDON: Mothers relate to 66 distinct identities, with the average defining themselves with at least six of these, according to new research that seeks to help marketers better communicate with these important consumers.

Mumsnet, the online parenting portal, teamed up with Saatchi & Saatchi to publish the "Stop Faking It" report, which was released to coincide with its Mumstock 2016 event.

A nationally representative sample of 1,977 British mothers aged 16-60 with children aged up to 18 took part in a survey that found only 19% reported seeing advertising that depicted them in a way they could relate to.

Of the 66 distinct groups that mums used to define themselves, the four most important to emerge were lone parents (2.3m), mums of children with special needs (1.4m), mums of teenagers (6m) and self-employed mums (1.7m).

The top 10 identities also included mothers with children at secondary school (31%), those who live in a town (28%), mums who had a caesarean section (22%) and mums who work out of home (17%).

Among some of the other identities were mothers who live in rural areas, those who breastfeed, home school their children, or have children with allergies.

The research came forward with seven key insights for brand marketers seeking to make better connections with mothers.

For example, it said many one-child families are forced to waste money because packaging and promotions are often designed with the 2.4 nuclear family in mind.

"Brands need to rethink packaging, promotions and communications if they want to connect better with this overlooked and underserved group," the report said.

And for the UK's 2.2m rural mums, the weekly shop can often combine with a family day out, so brands that assume all mothers depend on online shopping risk leaving rural mums behind.

Another important insight confirmed in the report is that lone mothers place heavy emphasis on online reviews and rely on multiple information sources to help with their purchase decisions.

"We know from the Mumsnet forums just how strongly felt many of these identities are, and how comforted and supported mothers feel when crucial facets of their mothering experience are acknowledged," said Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO.

"Demonstrating an understanding of a variety of experiences is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors," she added.

Data sourced from Mumsnet, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff