Creating An Authentic Environment

Nadine Vogel, president and founder of Springboard Consulting and a marketing-to-mom expert, once said that if brands want to effectively target the growing demographic of parents with special-needs children (approximately 23 million parents have at least one child between the ages of 5-16 with a disability), their "marketing must be handled in an appropriate, authentic manner."

Procter & Gamble appears to be following this advice with the launch of its latest "Thank You, Mom" campaign falling under the successful "Proud Sponsor of Mom" marketing umbrella. The campaign, "What I See," focuses on the brand's partnership with the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games and resonates with the millions of parents who have children with special needs. It also speaks to a universal truth all parents hold dear: Nothing is more important than supporting and encouraging children to be their best.

The campaign succeeds because it is appropriate and authentic -- a combination that works with all marketing-to-mom messaging. Taking a page out of the P&G handbook, here is how your brand can create an authentic environment:



Let Moms Talk: Throw away your scripts and planned plot lines and just let moms tell their stories. "What you hear on that commercial is largely not scripted," says Glenn Williams, external relations manager at Procter & Gamble. "We gave the mom, Kerry Hincka, a suggested script, but in many instances she felt more comfortable going with her own words. And you know what? It works."

Let Moms Talk, Part II: Part of the "Thank You, Mom" campaign includes a Facebook page that allows moms -- and those who love them -- to share their personal stories. The Facebook page contains a video creator, where moms can upload their own photos to create a spot similar to the one P&G is running on TV. "There is definitely power in storytelling," says Williams. "The consumer-generated videos are just as powerful as the commercial we have running."

Inspire Involvement: I've mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating: Moms have an innate desire to help other moms. Inspire moms to get involved with a movement, event or organization by partnering with those that speak to the core characteristics of your mom consumers. And, make getting involved easy. P&G will donate $1 to the Special Olympics for every "Like" it receives on the "Thank You, Mom" Facebook page (up to $250,000). "It's created quite a social media movement," adds Williams. "We generated more than 100,000 'Likes' within the first week of the campaign's launch."

Tell Your Story -- Everywhere: Don't change your authentic message just because you change marketing channels. P&G uses the same compelling story of Kerry and Molly Hincka throughout their various mediums, from TV to print to social media. While you certainly may need to tweak the message to fit the channel, don't change the overall story.

Authenticity will help you win with mom consumers, but it also comes with a personal side benefit. "It's certainly not a bad day at the office," says Williams. "You can't complain when you truly know you are helping moms and their families."

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