Parenting Is Harder Than Ever and Here’s How Brands Can Help

Showing empathy for parents’ struggles can be key to gaining loyalty

Building a loyal customer base is not easy. It may be especially difficult to connect with audiences now, when there is so much uncertainty, spread of misinformation and racial injustice in the world. How can you make your brand continue to matter when depression rates have tripled since the beginning of Covid-19 and anxiety has become more prevalent, especially in parents?

Verywell Family recently surveyed 1,602 parents and found that 72% agree that current events are making parenting harder. Parents are facing uncharted territory—throwing out their old dataset of what has worked in the past—and 71% have been forced to change their parenting approach along with their overall lifestyle. All parents want to make the right choices for their children, but those choices are more complex than ever.

Guidance helps. Of those surveyed, 82% said they would use new parenting strategies if they knew them. Brands have an opportunity to step in and build authentic, long-lasting connections by addressing parents’ struggles and guiding them toward decisions that make the most sense for their families. Here’s how.

1. Respond to emerging and dynamic trends

As parents’ experiences evolve in this new world, so do their needs. User engagement patterns are one of the strongest tools for understanding where consumers are and where they’re going. Brands can stand out by using these insights to shape their strategies and stay relevant in terms of types of offerings, focus, messaging, timing and more.

Publishers have a strong lens into what consumers need. For example, in early spring, Verywell Family saw an increase in parents interested in content to keep their children busy while working from home. Uncertainty in school openings led to year-over-year changes in topics of interest over the summer, too. In response, changes were made in real time to the type of content we published and the types of partnerships we focused on, to better meet our readers’ needs.

Reader insights also can help brands plan. At the beginning of the pandemic, for example, it became clear that there was a spike in people who were interested in content about how to conceive. Following this increased interest, there was a spike in readers engaging with content that suggests they did in fact conceive in the days and weeks that followed. In July, there was an above-average interest in our first trimester content. By following these trends, we can predict that these people will be looking for newborn information between now and March and are making specific plans to support this audience.

2. Identify and aid current and future problems

Putting consumers and their needs ahead of a brand’s goals is more important than ever. Today’s loyalty begins by solving a user’s problem, so identifying, anticipating, understanding and offering solutions can establish brands as a memorable go-to now and in the future.

For example, Verywell Family knows postpartum depression can affect up to one in seven new moms, and our research shows that it’s difficult to talk about for both moms and loved ones. In line with what we know about mental health and isolation during the pandemic, we’re anticipating postpartum depression to be a bigger challenge than ever before. We’ve put our focus on helping solve this problem and launched a new section on postpartum depression to support moms, as well as a conversation coach to help guide moms and loved ones in discussing the topic so they can get the help needed.

3. Help audiences feel better

People are paying more attention than ever to how brands make them feel, and brands that understand their customers’ mindsets have a better chance of creating long-lasting loyalty.

According to Verywell Family’s survey, judgment and empathy, in particular, stand out. When it comes to judgment, parents are selective about the brands they choose to help them make the right decisions: three out of four actively seek advice from sources that don’t make them feel judged. This is true whether they’re trying to select the right car seat, formula or any other choice.

Parents also want to feel as though they are not alone in their struggles. Empathy and acknowledging life’s realities resonates strongly with them.

Pivoting and paying attention to messaging is key to achieving this loyalty-building strategy. We learned this at Verywell Family, where we focus on offering an empathetic, judgement-free zone that helps parenting audiences feel more connected, less anxious and more empowered to make decisions for themselves and their family. Ultimately, this encourages them to engage more with our articles in the moment and come back to us in the future when they have additional questions about pregnancy, parenting and raising healthy families.

Rachel Berman was part of the leadership team that launched the Verywell brand and oversees content and business strategies for Verywell Family, Fit, and Mind. She is a published author with a passion for providing practical and science-based information related to nutrition, weight loss and health.