Will talking about pain points make Babies ‘R’ Us the go-to retailer for parents?

Discussion
Source: Babies "R" Us
Aug 02, 2017
Tom Ryan

As part of a major marketing push, Babies “R” Us has come up with a new “Be Prepared-ish” tagline, an effort to position the retailer as the place parents can go to best “prepare” for the routine and unexpected challenges of raising babies.

A digital video being promoted through social channels and on its website describes how nothing prepares a parent for “an airplane diaper blowout when the seatbelt is on,” the hours spent searching “teething” or “sleep regression” online, and other surprises.

But having “someone you can turn to who says, ‘Been there, done that,’ ’Try this,’ or ‘Sorry about your shirt’” can help, the video states. The short ends, “No parent is truly prepared. But Babies ‘R’ Us can help you be prepared – ish.”

The campaign marks a shift from a traditional focus on “perfect” parenting that was found to be unrealistic to moms. Research conducted by the retailer also found that 82 percent of parents feel overwhelmed when the baby first comes home, and 63 percent feel they’ve underperformed as a parent.

“There’s nobody in the parenting category who is celebrating those realities of parenting — the messy moments,” Carla Zakhem-Hassan, chief marketing officer of both Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us, told Advertising Age. “It’s a real opportunity to take a pain point and shed light on it to say the messy moments are the beautiful moments of parenting.”

As part of the effort, Babies “R” Us is giving associates additional training so they will better understand the needs of parents and prospective parents.

The advertising campaign includes a particular focus on digital to reach Millennial moms. Parents are being asked to submit their own videos showing parenting moments they weren’t prepared for under the hashtag #iwasntpreparedfor with prizes awarded for top entries. Comments will be used to support future website content.

Ms. Zakhem-Hassan told Business Insider, “If our vision is to be a best friend, then we have got to be there in terms of everything, even if that means becoming a publisher.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the “Be Prepared-ish” message and campaign better position Babies “R” Us against Amazon, Walmart and other larger players in the infant space? Will parents welcome more realistic messages about the challenges of raising babies?

Braintrust
"This campaign is sure to resonate with parents of little ones, and especially with been-there-done-that grandparents. "
"“Be Prepared-ish” is an excellent idea. Effectively this is content marketing meant to keep consumers engaged with the brand..."
"This is an outstanding opportunity for Babies “R” Us to differentiate themselves from Amazon, Walmart, etc., as they have the brand recognition."

Join the Discussion!

16 Comments on "Will talking about pain points make Babies ‘R’ Us the go-to retailer for parents?"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

This campaign is sure to resonate with parents of little ones, and especially with been-there-done-that grandparents. The ad also plays to Millennials’ desire for authenticity. Nice work!

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

This effort seems much more realistic, and I think leaning on the “ish” is current and not yet overdone. I hope they can make it funny, because having babies and toddlers around is actually very entertaining despite the mess!

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

Conceptually I like this a lot, and it’s a great customer service program for new and expecting parents. It also helps differentiate Babies “R” Us from the competition. However, too many great programs created by marketers fail at the store level because the company does not deliver the associate-level skills needed. I recently visited a couple of Babies “R” Us stores on a shopping mission and I was not impressed due to the lack of customer engagement. So as the video talks about how our “experts” will help you find what you need, Babies “R” Us has to deliver that expertise to customers with well-trained, knowledgeable store level associates. The company can spend the money on the marketing, but without more effort on teaching associates what they need to know with effective training so they can wow the customers, this program will never reach its full potential.

Naomi Shapiro
Guest
19 days 2 hours ago

It takes Babies “R” Us’s well-known branding into action mode (“Be Prepared-ish”) which could be helpful. But for me, anything with the suffix “ish” sounds wISHy washy and diminISHes the image. Action to help? Yes. But also to encourage videos of “messy” moments? Not for me — but then I’m not their audience.

Kevin Graff
BrainTrust

My wife and I give each other a high-five every time one of our kids has a birthday … to celebrate that we somehow managed to keep them alive another year! I think this campaign will resonate more with experienced parents who have made dozens of mistakes and can laugh at themselves. The new parent is still intent on being perfect against all odds. All-in-all, a great and refreshing campaign.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

The message is realistic, but is it compelling? And is it more compelling than reduced cost and increased convenience? For some parents the answer may be yes, but I suspect those will end up being the minority of the market.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

The idea behind this campaign is a winner — having gone through that new parent experience a few years ago, we always found Babies”R” Us’s “near perfection” approach to be unrealistic and off-putting enough to drive us to shop elsewhere. This new approach should help solve that problem. However, as others have brought up here, true success lies not with the marketing campaign execution but with the store operational level execution. If you’re going to promote your “experts” then you had better have well-trained experts in your store. That’s not something I remember Babies “R” Us having before, so hopefully they’ve addressed this end-to-end to really deliver on the promises the campaign lays out.

Charles Dimov
BrainTrust

“Be Prepared-ish” is an excellent idea. Effectively this is content marketing meant to keep consumers engaged with the brand, and thinking about/discovering new items they may need for babies/children. It’s a great idea to be helpful and increase consumer trust in the Babies “R” Us brand. Yes I expect the “Be Prepared-ish” campaign to be an effective play for Babies “R” Us.

Celeste C. Giampetro
BrainTrust

Couldn’t agree more, Charles. This is much more than an ad campaign that’s pushing product. It certainly sets up the brand to have a very different kind of conversation than “this is on sale at the cheapest price” and instead focus on why every brand exists — to solve pain points for real people. It will be interesting to watch how Babies “R” Us scales this idea in-store and online. AI and virtual assistants could offer a whole lot of value in addition to in-store buddies to provide more than directions to the bibs.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Being a parent or grandparent of little ones has its challenges. If stores such as Babies “R” Us focus more on the stages of infancy/toddlerhood and concentrate on the life style, vs. the broad assortments, it would help mitigate the friction and confusion when you go shopping for essentials. There are so many pitfalls and mistakes we make along the way that having a “trail guide” could be extremely helpful.

This is an outstanding opportunity for Babies “R” Us to differentiate themselves from Amazon, Walmart, etc., as they have the brand recognition. A focus on service and educating their sales force will be a competitive advantage.

The “Be Prepared-ish” campaign may just be the antidote that Babies “R” Us needs to gain back some consumer loyalty in a saturated, online dominated marketplace.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I love the ad and overall love the approach. It hits a real truth about parenting — one that runs contrary to what all the “experts” tell parents and which is quite real. And the research behind it has the sound of truth.

I become concerned with the execution plan — using digital under the broad assumption it’s the best way to “reach Millennials”. That’s too broad a stereotyped assumption to be the foundation of a good media strategy.

Nonetheless, kudos to Babies “R” Us for realizing that communicating about problems and treating them realistically is a powerful approach — avoiding the extremes of exaggerated humor that we see far too often or the over-dramatization of the problem.

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust

This is a refreshing approach even if execution may be challenging. Consider that the new parent phenomena only happens once and the surprise factor drops off dramatically. The stores need to be properly staffed and those associates need to be more knowledgeable than other moms and dads (and websites) that the new parents have tapped for advice.

None of these should be reasons not to pursue this strategy — providing that personal touch can build long-term trust with the brand. Just make sure your associates, stores and inventory management are able to meet the high expectations set by the marketing campaign.

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

What a great concept. It will specifically help first-time parents. The “been-there-done-that” piece would be solidified if the sales associates have children of their own. They could give good hints, like telling new parents to be sure to cover their new son before changing his diaper so he does not use their freshly-laundered shirt for target practice. I wish someone would have given me that warning.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

If the specific shots are compelling and realistic suggestions are offered, the spots could resonate well with young parents. So if they believe the spots and go to the store looking for empathy and solutions, what will they find? Will there be people available for conversations and to answer questions? If not, the campaign will fall flat. If so, is it cost-effective?

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
BrainTrust

Brands need to be clear in describing the problem they are solving or the improved quality of life they are delivering. If this campaign can gain customer alignment to the point where features and benefits are the basis of the purchase decision, full speed ahead. Marketing messages can become very ambiguous as they focus on feel-good/do-good, and a campaign like the Babies “R” Us’s “Be Prepared-ish” takes marketing communications in the right direction. The additional benefit is that elements of the campaign can be applied across many marketing devices, including in-store at point of purchase.

Franklin Chu
BrainTrust

Yes, I think this approach makes Babies “R” Us stand out as a trusted resource because the retailer is not only selling products — it is selling solutions.

New parents often feel overwhelmed, anxious and even competitive with other parents. Babies “R” Us’s approach makes the retailer seem like a wise, trusted friend who deeply understands parents’ needs. The campaign embraces the fact that unexpected things will happen and reassures new parents they will be okay even when things aren’t perfect.

This messaging strategy makes Babies “R” Us seem authentic, relatable and trustworthy — qualities that Millennials appreciate. Today’s new generation of parents values honesty and wants to feel cared for and understood; this realistic campaign shows that Babies “R” Us offers empathy and relevant solutions to help overwhelmed parents relax and savor this special period of their lives.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This campaign is sure to resonate with parents of little ones, and especially with been-there-done-that grandparents. "
"“Be Prepared-ish” is an excellent idea. Effectively this is content marketing meant to keep consumers engaged with the brand..."
"This is an outstanding opportunity for Babies “R” Us to differentiate themselves from Amazon, Walmart, etc., as they have the brand recognition."

Take Our Instant Poll

How likely is the “Be Prepared-ish” campaign to prove successful for Babies “R” Us?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...