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Don’t Tell Gen-Y How to Parent, Just Brand Accordingly

A new ilk of moms and dads has changed baby care for good. Brands of all kinds, take note.

We’ve launched a new e-book, Brave New World, that elaborates on baby-care disruption. Download it for free right here.

Remember when Millennials were gum-smacking teens, test-driving a new thing called Twitter? Well, in the blink of an eye they grew up, becoming the next generation of parents raising youth of their own. As William Gibson said, “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.”

While you were sleeping, Gen-Y disrupted the baby-care category, aggressively adopting new products and services—ones with premium expressions from innovation-centric brands. Walk down a superstore aisle or troll Amazon and you’ll see it: gadgets act as intuitive, human-like caretakers. Simple stuffed animals aren’t as adorable as their fluffy, Wi-Fi-enabled peers. And diaper bags? They look more like Milan’s must-have totes.

Just like you can’t stop a baby from growing, you can’t stop a category from changing. And for baby care, it’s Gen-Y’s unique interpretation of parenthood that’s forcing brands to innovate. Their advanced socio-cultural outlooks are disrupting every aspect of the category: these parents want toys that can babysit, accessories that can sweat the city commute, apps that act as caretakers and gender-progressive everything. Like all endeavors in a Millennial’s world, parenting is but one part of a greater sum, one facet of a very multifaceted life.

“A brand can no longer activate a trend too soon, only too late.”

It’s then easy to see how baby care’s changed fate can be a lesson to any brand, any category. For the evolved Gen-Y population, brand outputs must cater to a hyperactive, frenetic life—a demand that illuminates the need for trends forecasting and nimble innovation on all fronts. We’re now in a world where consumer adoption of new products, services and brands is seamless—a brand can no longer activate a trend too soon, only too late.

And if we look further out, businesses can ready themselves for the shoppers of tomorrow. Children raised by Gen-Y will have new and fascinating tendencies to brand around—and it’s something to prep for now. A brand’s relevancy hinges on the ability to anticipate the forces of change, and moreover, to leverage the role they play in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Get going—somewhere, a new consumer was just born.

For more on baby-care disruption, download LPK’s report Brave New World.

Bryan Goodpaster is senior creative director of Trends at LPK, where he is often called upon for his non-traditional approach and strategic consultancy—helping crack wicked brand problems and strategic conundrums for many category-leading brands. Unbound by methodologies and traditional design thinking, Bryan’s deep consumer empathy drives him to be as creative in his approach and process as in his outputs. Follow Bryan on Twitter at @bryangoodpaster or email him at bryan.goodpaster@lpk.com.

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