Brands and communicators must reflect Mom's newer realities and the new relation that she shares with her child. They must recognise she has a role beyond cooking, and partner her in being the `creator of fun' in her child's life. Not only that, they must even be supportive of the working mother by reassuring her that it's not a crime to not be a Supermom.
These are recommendations from ad agency O&M's project, `Ma, Mamta and Motherhood,' a study undertaken by its Discovery arm which studied the modern mother. Ogilvy & Mather India's Brand Planning and Consumer Insights division conducted a national study on the Indian Mother to discover her triggers and motivations, and their implications on brands and brand communication. The primary research covered a cross-section of major metros and smaller towns including Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kanpur, Indore, Satara, Dhule, Ulundurpet and Kanchipuram. Learnings from various categories that Ogilvy works on and analysing women's magazines, TV serials, and movies also provided insights on how the mother was portrayed in the mass media.
The study noted that increasingly, mothers are changing from strict disciplinarians to friend and `co-conspirator', from being taskmaster to partner in development. More than obedience, it is gaining the child's confidence that matters. They want to strike a balance between being a friend and a mother.
The study also analyses in detail the `working mother', her guilt and her fears and how she strikes a balance between work and family. Says Ms Leena Shoor, the planner who led the study, "Not all working mothers are the same, but exist along a continuum." The study, says Ms Shoor, gives the marketer clues on which mother type the brand should be talking to.
The study suggests opportunities for brands that enable today's Mom to resolve her conflicts, which will earn them her gratitude and goodwill. It emphasises the importance of projecting the right type of mother that would be aspirational for consumers.
The study recognises that as society changes and becomes lesser value-driven, so does the mother. Mothers today are not as unforgiving as those earlier. "So today you won't find a Nargis shooting her son as in Mother India but accepting his illegal practices as a part of life, like in Company, or in Mission Kashmir."
It also notes that she doesn't want to look like a mother of two any longer. Today's mother is svelte and sexy, what with role models in Aditi Govitrikar, Malaika Arora and Catherine Zeta Jones.
"The study has discovered that the Indian mother has evolved in some ways, and in some ways has remained the same anchor of comfort that we all return to," adds Ms Shoor.