For the last fifty years, child and family marketing has followed a pretty simple and standard formula. You either studied parents (or “gatekeeper”) and developed products and marketing programs which filled their needs, or you studied kids and marketed to theirs. But what to do in a world where families’ number one decision-making style is some form of collaboration? Which master are we to serve when today, less than one in four moms describe themselves as the person in home that has the final word? The new reality based on fifteen years of extensive child and family research is that today's families make decisions together. Whether it be a fruit snack for the child's lunch box, or a new car for the entire family, the way products come into families' lives is not based on the preferences of a single family member, but a more subtle decision-making process in which the needs each family member arise, interact, conflict, and ultimately coalesce into a family's behavior. Our old binary parent/child model fails to recognize this…perhaps explaining the appallingly low success rate of kid and family new products and programs it generates.
These were precisely the trends that inspired The Family Room (formerly Just Kid Inc.) to create a completely new child and family marketing construct: Highest Common Ground Marketing™. In its simplest form, HCG Marketing seeks inspiration and insight in the shared needs of the entire family instead of the discrete needs of its individuals. Rather than focus on what individuals in the family want, our focus is on what they can agree on. The result is a whole new generation of research, brand strategy, and new product development tools capable of aligning the combined influence of the entire family behind the same brand for the same reason. For our clients, that means a new perspective on categories they have been staring at for years, and step-change targeting, positioning, and new product strategies that move markets.