Social Media

This Father’s Day, Take a Page from Dad’s Playbook

June 13, 2014

360i’s Insights & Planning team constantly monitors the social landscape, seeking to better understand how and why consumers relate to brands. So, in honor of Father’s Day, we decided to investigate how people talk about one of the most universally-loved brands around: Dad.

To learn more about why consumers love Dad, we used 360i’s social listening methodology to pull public online conversations that included the phrase “My Dad is the best,” and let organic conversation fill in the blank. Our biggest finding was that people love Dad because he provides them with three crucial benefits: Support, Familiarity and Social Interaction.

Each of these benefits provides unique value and represents a core element when it comes to fostering relationships. We’ve visualized this relationship-building process as a pyramid in which the foundation of Support is the base that builds up to more complex relationships through Familiarity, eventually achieving the top echelon of Social Interaction.

While most marketers aren’t out to play the role of Dad, observing how organic relationships between children and their fathers develop provides insight into how relationships are fostered in general, thus uncovering parallels into how brands can better connect with consumers.

Need-Driven Support is the Base of a Strong Relationship

Our analysis revealed that 35 percent of consumers lauded their dad as “the best” due to the helping hand Dad provides, especially during that difficult transition into adulthood. People cited both tangible and emotional instances of support: from the full tank of gas that Dad has gifted to them, to the career advice he offers them.

These types of responsibilities, while largely expected of Dad, infuse the relationship with trust and appreciation, which people expressed openly via social media. While this natural role of provider might not be the largest driver of Dad’s favorability, it does provide a crucial base of trust that is pivotal to the relationship.

Marketer Implication:  Just like Dad, brands can only build relationships by first identifying and offering functional benefits that support consumers’ wants and needs. Once a brand has proved its value, consumers are more open to connecting with a brand beyond its core products or services.

Dad’s Personalized Love Elevates the Relationship

Once a base of support has been established, the relationship between child and father can evolve to become deeper and more personal. Our analysis identified that the personalized touch of your Dad was the common thread in almost 50 percent of Dad appreciation conversation; the driving force behind Dad favorability.

These deeply personal, albeit sometimes small, gestures – such as knowing to send Cowtails and not Milky Ways in his care packages – often made the largest impact. Simply put, positive feelings toward one’s dad are more closely linked to the alignment of familiarity and identity than they are to the exchange of material things.

Marketer Implication: Children are anxious to share anecdotes related to their dads when those also share something about them. Familiarity is intrinsically shareable. Similarly, when brands align their values and communications with the values and desires of their target consumer, they create a deeper, more emotional and more shareable connection.

Social Interaction is Desirable and Elusive

As the most complex and aspirational status on the relationship pyramid, social interaction is the smallest conversation bucket at only 16 percent of the total buzz. Its small percentage is a reflection of the level of difficulty in attaining it.

Social interaction is achieved when Dad’s role transforms from that of a supportive provider into a so-called “partner-in-crime”. In Dad’s world, that means going to a concert with your child and being a source of engagement and fun instead of a cause of embarrassment or annoyance. While support and familiarity concern the ways in which Dad helps his child, social interaction is where child and father share a mutually enjoyed experience.

Marketer Implication: Even though jumping right to a social interaction is tempting, brands need to earn the right to engage. Consumers need to be supported and understood before they are willing to interact.

One More Lesson from Dad

Our analysis of organic consumer conversation shows that “Dad is the best” because of his ability to forge and grow meaningful relationships. Through Support, Familiarity and Social Interaction, Dad has built an informal playbook for relationship-building to which all marketers can relate. This Father’s Day, take a page from Dad on how to create and sustain meaningful relationships.

Brigid Demko, Insights & Planning Intern at 360i, contributed to this post.

Cover photo via Flickr