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August 15, 2014
The Power of Mom

When it comes to household purchases and decision-making, it is no secret that women hold the power. Managing Director & Founder of DHR Communications, Catherine Heaney, blogs about her recent experience of ‘The Power of Mom’ while she was in NYC guest lecturing at Columbia University.

The marketing world knows that ‘Mother is King’ (or, should I say, ‘Queen’). She is responsible for 85 per cent of purchasing decisions in a household. And because she purchases for all of her charge, she’s also a product ambassador who has the capacity to create brand loyalty that passes down the generations. So, when mother is let down, there are consequences.

Park Slope in Brooklyn is where many affluent New Yorkers head when kids come along. It’s rated as one of the top ten places to live in all of America. And you can see why.

Public schools are excellent; playgrounds are extensive, well-equipped and maintained; the streets are clean and leafy; brownstones are immaculate; and the atmosphere is very convivial and community-orientated. There is also an extensive range of excellent eateries and watering holes.

The ‘Park Slope Mom’ is synonymous with the area. There are lots of them. Possibly on any given day, more women push strollers than single people walk alone on the sidewalks.

NYC Mexican Restaurant

The market has clearly grown to cater for the Park Slope Mom. There’s a stroller parking and valet service in the area. Boing Boing – the shop that sells baby slings and other accessories – declares that it has been ‘at your cervix since 1996’.

And you can see the results: most children under one are firmly tied to Mom (or Dad) with the latest sling. There is even a shop on 5th Avenue selling baby products and women’s cosmetics. A strange mix, but clearly designed for the local audience.

So, unsurprisingly, when a number of bars in the area started to tell patrons that they could no longer park strollers on their premises and others declared a complete ban on children, feathers were ruffled. Social media and parents’ boards started hopping. Even the big titles covered the story.

It would appear that some establishments climbed down. A few remain steadfast to the stroller / full-on toddler ban. The cost benefit of either strategy has not been disclosed.

And as the stroller turf-war played out during the summer, Park Slope greeted the arrival of a new Mexican restaurant. It’s still waiting for sanction to sell alcohol (and it apologises for the delay), but from noon to night, it appears to be doing a thriving business.

Tables full of families (including plenty of toddlers) sit happy alongside couples sharing guacamole after a long hard day. While the food is mediocre (compared with some of what’s on offer in the neighborhood), its success may be something to do with the daily chalk board message: “Moms, we have stroller parking.”

Catherine was recently guest lecturing on the Strategic Communications programme at Columbia University.

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