DGC Moms Share Personal Truths and Insights on the Truth About Moms
As you’ve seen in our earlier blog post recapping some of the illuminating insights from McCann’s Truth About Mom event in NYC, our own fabulous and accomplished DGC moms have some pretty interesting POVs of their own to share. Continuing our Truth About Moms discussion is Christine O’Donnell, DGC vice president, group account director.
THB: Christine, how do you believe brands can establish an authentic connection with the mom demographic?
CO’D: I believe most moms, especially new moms like newly appointed Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer, find community of like-minded individuals helpful. You can be the “Anti-Helicopter Moms,” it doesn’t matter, as long as you find a niche of people who understand you and where you are. Brands could be more targeted in their marketing to find these groups.
THB: Does the media’s focus on celebrity moms “having it all and looking perfect” feed into insecurities?
CO’D: No one ‘has it all.’ No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Interestingly, a successful C-suite executive, a celebrity and a stay-at home mom from Middle America are probably going through a similar experience, at least at first. Your entire world has just changed for the rest of your life as you know it. You will never be the same. Or as my Mom used to say about having children, “They NEVER GO AWAY!” So, I would argue that you don’t want to be engaged with in the same way. Yes, we are still women – and don’t let anyone or brand forget this – but if you want me to respond as a mom, create a conversation I can participate in as a mom. I can compartmentalize and multi-task. Shoot, that’s what being a Mom is half of the time.
THB: Any tips to share for other working moms out there?
- Make sure your child has a cell phone that works (i.e., doesn’t leave it outside in the rain,) but don’t use it when you’re both in the same physical space. That’s lazy, plain and simple.
- Be fair about electronics/technology. My son and I have a rule where for every minute we spend on electronics or technology at home, we have to spend the same amount of time doing something physically active.
- Too many of us are still afraid to be clear with employers about what kind of flex time you may need to tend to mom duties. You need to communicate this up front, and assure your employer that your work will still be accomplished – but maybe it will be at 6 a.m. or 11 p.m.
- And stop thinking you need to ‘have it all.’ Who do you know that ‘has it all’ and is truly satisfied with their life? It’s our perception about what ‘having it all’ means. We need to cut ourselves some slack.
Next up with mom insights to share is Kristen Bryan, DGC vice president, group account director.
THB: Kristen, any sage advice to offer working moms based on your personal experience?
KB: As a first-time new mom of a 10 month old, the term “multi-tasking” has taken on a whole new meaning. You just don’t realize how time consuming your little one can be, and when you get a moment to breathe, sometimes it’s 8 p.m., dinner isn’t made and you’re still in your lounge wear. Where’d the day go?
Getting back into the groove takes time, and when I got the itch to work again, I decided a part-time schedule was right for me…for now. My advice to new moms would be to take the time to enjoy your baby, don’t feel rushed or pressured if your gut is telling you otherwise. Marissa’s plan to take a “few weeks off” and work throughout her maternity leave seems unrealistic and a bit naive. But hey, she’s the CEO of Yahoo. Maybe she’s planning to have a baby nurse and eight nannies. Maybe she’s the new Supermom on a mission to contradict the research!
THB: Any thoughts on how brands can better resonate with moms?
KB: Well, as for brands, I say reward me for repeatedly choosing your product – I tend to be brand loyal with certain items (diapers, organic baby foods, clothing, soaps, etc.) so make it make it worth my while to shell out the extra dough for your product. Hey, a free box of diapers goes a long way! Also, since I’m new to parenting, I’m constantly searching online for answers to questions – seems like every day there’s a new development or “phase” that throws me for a loop. Brands that help connect me with like-minded new moms – both online and offline through geo-targeting – win my vote.
Adding her thoughts and wisdom to the mix is Theresa Nasi, DGC senior vice president.
THB: Theresa, do you feel there are different challenges facing moms of today compared to moms of earlier generations?
TN: Women, whether we have children or not, need to back away from the ole “pity party” mentality and just make sure we have each other’s backs. We have an opportunity to set an example and change perception.
I joined the workforce at an interesting time. Many of the women “above” me seemed to resent the women in my generation. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that they felt (or were told) that they had to make the difficult choice between success at work or success at home. That resentment set us back a bit. Lesson learned – we need to support each other along the various complicated stages of motherhood and womanhood!
I appreciate the trail the women before me blazed, but let’s move on and prove by example that we are smart, innovative, valuable, strong and fun to be around – we are just people who require a bit more flexibility when it comes to typical working hours.
THB: What advice would you offer brands looking to connect authentically with moms?
TN: I want to be talked to as a person. Don’t target me simply by age or whether or not I have children. Use the sophisticated technology you now have to talk to me, or ideally with me, based on my behavior. Use all that data that I happily share via my TV viewing, my social network activity, my credit card spending, etc. Please don’t send me Dairy Queen ads when I need to travel upstate or out of state to get a Dilly Bar. Don’t send me minivan ads when I live in NY and haven’t owned a car in 10 years. Use all that data I provide wisely. I’m sure there’s an algorithm for that!
THB: What are your thoughts on the news of Marissa Mayer’s recent ascension to CEO of Yahoo!?
TN: I wish Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! all the luck in the world. I believe her hiring is significant on many levels (tech-product background, woman, 37, pregnant, etc.). And as a media relations pro, I’d also like to mention that I feel the Yahoo! PR efforts this week were “flawless.” (As mentioned by the HBR yesterday: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/marissa_mayer_is_the_right_kin.html?awid=8683339325973620354-3271). It will likely become a case study in how to do it right, as our collective perception of the company has made a tremendous shift in a mere three days. Kudos!