As if it weren’t enough that dads are finally getting their own conference, or being recognized by popular parenting sites as being part of the parenting discussion, it also appears that dads are now able to mobilize as a serious force for social good.
As part of Movember, the annual charitable giving drive when men grow mustaches in order to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, a team of dad bloggers and general fatherhood aficionados was assembled in order to harness the collective growing power – and social influence – of the group. The result has exceeded even the organizer’s expectations: over $30,000 raised in total from a group of around 50 dads, including contributions from supporting bloggers and sponsors.
“I wanted to try to include as many dads as possible in this great wave of social media for social good,” said Doug French of Laid-Off Dad, the organizer who invited all the dads (including me) to participate. “I had high hopes and tempered expectations, but this turnout has blown them both away.”
Marketers have been looking for reasons to take dads as seriously as they take the online mom community, and efforts like this should verify the legitimacy of that decision. Online dads are at the forefront of the changing role of the father in the household – a change that the research is increasingly supporting. According to the recently released Edelman Modern Family study, households are increasingly run by both parents playing equal roles, including when making purchasing decisions.
Since many brands have not yet made an effort to reach out to dads, those who begin to incorporate dads into their campaigns now will benefit from the small but influential voice of this community, while securing long-term brand loyalty. At the very least, brands should consider how their messaging to mom could be perceived by dad, who is often influential to her decision making and can be turned off by an overly negative or one-sided parenting message.
Dads have long been the parenting underdogs, especially online. It looks like 2012 may be the year they turn a corner.