For nearly 10 years, Cow & Gate has supplied baby and toddler milk to customers in Hong Kong. Over time, the brand saw a need to challenge its thinking to ensure it continued to remain relevant to the shifting mindsets and media habits of its key audience — millennial moms. Qing Ye, former marketing director and now disruptive innovation director at Cow & Gate’s parent company, reveals how the brand adapted its advertising strategy after gaining a better understanding of the nuances of young moms aged 25 to 35, allowing Cow & Gate to meet them with a meaningful message on the platforms important to them.
As purchasers of baby and toddler milk, millennial moms have always been a key audience for us. In APAC, almost 9 out of 10 women say they share or have primary responsibility for daily shopping,1 so our advertising efforts are focused on how we can remain top of mind — and top of their shopping lists.
Traditionally, we had advertised our Cow & Gate products on TV, but consumer research revealed that millennial moms were researching more online before making purchase decisions,2 and 94% of millennial moms had watched a video clip or visited a video-sharing site in the past month.3 Ipsos research revealed that by focusing investments in online video, YouTube could be twice as effective for driving top-of-mind awareness and even more effective in driving purchase intent.4
Understanding the mindset of our key audience
Having an idea of the right platform to reach millennial moms is one thing, but understanding consumer behavior meant we needed to be able to connect with this audience and understand their motivations.
Through our Danone consumer research, we uncovered that being a millennial mom isn’t easy. In an age when access to information is in abundance, young moms are overloaded with information on how to best approach parenting, constantly seek guidance and reassurance from others, and feel pressured to make the right decisions at every step of their children’s growth.
Through our campaign, we wanted to make sure we were not only offering moms the support they needed during the early stages of parenting but also demonstrating the wonderful things that can happen when parents empower their kids to challenge expectations and teach them how to live life their own way. We designed three distinct creative spots around each of our insights.
1. Moms feel pressure to make the right choices
Moms in Hong Kong are inundated with information on how to best approach parenting. Our research showed they are overwhelmed with the variety of options available to them, and as a result they feel incredible pressure to know how to make the right choices for their children.
To help give moms the confidence they needed to make informed choices, we focused our messaging on educating them about the ingredients that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and support a healthy digestive system. The idea was to empower moms to make informed choices for their children and take away some of the stress of deciding which product is best for them.
2. Moms value social assurance
Millennial moms are active parents with large social circles. A lot of their interactions involve conversations that center around what is best for their children, and they turn to friends and family for support and affirmation that they are doing the right thing.
We wanted to show moms that their attention is better spent on enjoying time with their kids rather than worrying about social approval. We developed creative that shows kids enjoying new experiences on their own, giving moms the confidence to let their children decide how they want to play, and encouraging them to not miss these happy moments of smiles and laughter.
3. Moms want to strike a balance
Our core audience is faced with a unique dilemma: follow commonly held beliefs about the best way to raise children or allow kids to learn and grow at their own pace. Millennial moms want to let their kids be kids, but they also don’t want their children to fall behind.
To address this balance, we focused our creative on encouraging moms to let their children be themselves — by nurturing their kids’ imagination, moms would provide more opportunities for them to develop through learning and discovery.
What we learned by challenging traditional thinking
By learning more about millennials as consumers and our core audience, we were able to understand their journeys and determine the best touchpoints to reach them along the way. We realized millennial moms can’t be seen as one single entity; different sub-segments exist within this audience, each with its own unique challenges.
Investing in YouTube not only allowed us to deliver more targeted messaging to our audience but also helped us achieve our business goals. Because we were able to test and optimize our campaign, we were able to maintain our brand health score with a lower investment while enjoying a 6% increase in market share across our key accounts.