Building a brand, raising a child: musts for marketers and parents

by | Mar 9, 2024 | Uncategorized

All too often I find the challenges and responsibilities of being an effective marketer mirror those of an effective parent.

So with Mother’s Day approaching, now seemed like a good time to reflect on the analogous relationship between building a brand and raising a child.

Here are 12 ‘musts’ which can apply to marketing and parenting. For simplicity, I’ve used the word ‘audience’ to refer to both customers and children (fur babies may also apply).

1. You must be relatable 

You must speak to your audience on a level they understand. You must tailor your message according to their needs, use their language, but not appear too ‘try hard’ lest you be accused of attempting to be ‘woke’.

2. You must be accountable 

If you say something, you must mean it. You must learn from mistakes, adhere to regulations and reduce risk while also being bold. You have to do what you say you will or be prepared to be challenged – if not by your audience, then by everyone and her aunt.

3. You must be creative

You can do your research, take cues from others on Instagram, or ask ChapGPT to curate the perfect list. But your ideas must be better, bolder and meet more distinctive needs.

4. You must nurture relationships

You must communicate on a personal level, empathise with your audience’s frustrations and build memorable interactions. You must not hide in a cupboard with a pack of biscuits when they tell you you’re the absolute worst – not for too long anyway.

5. You must be present

You must be always on, always visible, always listening. You must be centred on your audience. But not get in their face and never overstep their boundaries.

6. You must invest in the right resources 

You can try to do it all, but you won’t do it all well or without losing your mind. It’s a constant juggling act. You need a support network to call on. You need to outsource some stuff, give yourself time to take care of what matters.

7. You must be true to your values 

You have to stand up for what you believe in without putting others down. You have to be authentic. Build trust through consistency. Even if those around you seem to be doing things differently. You can’t be seen to be jumping on the bandwagon.

8. You must focus on understanding

You must meet your audience where they’re at. Build awareness of the problem before expecting them to come up with the solution themselves.  Use language they can understand. Be relevant. But don’t patronise them. They’ll see right through that shizzle.

9. You must be ready for criticism 

The more you say, the more you can be called out. You need to acknowledge when you’re in the wrong, take steps to make amends. But ignore the trolling, and don’t get provoked!

10. You must be in it for the long haul

You must invest in the long game. You can’t expect results from doing something once. You also can’t expect something that worked once to work again. You must be patient, adapt, be willing to pivot at a moment’s notice – and ready to respond to the next proverbial or literal poonami.

11. You must always be learning

Your audience is always evolving. New trends are always emerging. You must keep up. I highly recommend The Whole Marketer by Abigail Dixon and The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, both of which I ironically found myself reading at the same time.

Keep learning. Keep upskilling. But also, don’t be tempted to go in for every new shiny thing – and don’t burn out.

12. You must remember you are unique 

Finally, there is no other just like you, and there will never be another just like you. On a good day you are the number one go to, the north star. On a bad one you are no better than X and nowhere near as nice as Y’s mum. The tide can change in an instant. Stay vigilant.

Do what you can with what you have, and don’t take anything too personally. 

Follow these and you’ll be on the way to securing long-term success for your brand – the success of the child, well that’s up to fate.



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