The consumer insights survey measured respondents’ openness to paying for help with various care-related duties across childcare, homecare and older adult care. When asked how they would ideally want these duties to be handled, respondents indicated their openness on a ‘stigma scale’ ranging from 1-5 (1 meaning they would never hire help, and 5 meaning they would definitely prefer to pay for help, as opposed to doing it all themselves).
The ‘Care Cusp’ segment is defined as all respondents that indicated a 2, 3 or 4 response on a given subcategory of care, meaning that they are open to paying for help under the right circumstances, equally open to paying versus handling it themselves, or prefer paying for care.
“When people ask me who our biggest competitor is, I often say, ‘staying home.’ It’s the fact that we’ve been able to bottle the word-of-mouth recommendation in an easy to use app/website that enables parents to say ‘yes’ to all the things they want to do.”
Airbnb famously used in-person events to introduce the Airbnb platform to international hosts. They A/B tested digital-only marketing campaigns versus in-person market launches. The in-person market launches, despite having higher travel costs associated and higher overall upfront spend, led to a 5x return on investment and significantly higher host registrations.
“The host side we found is harder. Turns out, getting people to open their homes to strangers is not quite as easy as getting people to travel and have a unique experience… The first thing we learned is that talking to humans actually really works.”
When Rent the Runway launched, it was a new behavior for customers to rent a dress online instead of purchasing one. In order to get early users onboard, the company hosted in-person events on college campuses, inviting the public in to see and try on Rent The Runway’s collection of dresses. This allowed customers to see first-hand that the dresses were high-end and clean, and to have a low-stakes opportunity to chat with representatives from the company about the rental process.
In order to launch their marketplace, Etsy got started by meeting sellers in person. They sent a team across the U.S. and Canada to attend every art and craft show every week. There, they would support local sellers by buying them lunch, dropping off “craft show kits,” and passing out early promotions for sellers to list on the Etsy platform. Etsy targeted artisans, fostering a sense of community around their mission and building a platform that supports local artisans and craftspeople.
Frida, which allows parent to deal with constipation and colds via novel devices, uses humor throughout its branding, both online and in TV ads. Their marketing explicitly acknowledges the "Gross" nature of their products, but does so in a fun and frank way that resonates with parents.
“Honest storytelling is part of the company's DNA, and these commercials from Frida Baby are the latest installment of that philosophy… Director Quinn Katherman strikes just the right balance, wringing equal measures of humor and empathy from memorably icky product demos.”
Megababe produces beauty products for stereotypically unspoken personal care needs, like melasma and chafing. They also do it disarmingly, with cute, millennial-forward packaging. As highlighted in The Cut, “Megababe is a body-positive beauty company that’s unafraid to tackle physical nuisances like chub rub and boob sweat.”
The Megababe ethos starts with founder Katie Sturino, who also runs a plus-sized fashion blog and the Boob Sweat podcast. Sturino “has a history of acknowledging the real problems women face just living their lives and finding a comfortable — and cute — work-around.”
Maple is an app that helps families manage their households — from family calendars, to-dos, and connections to products, deals, and services for the home. Maple explicitly acknowledges that running a household is tough and helps by breaking down tasks and projects step by step for users to easily follow and use the app for themselves. They also have an online community called Chaos Club where parents can share or ask the Maple community for support or tips on parenting and household management.
Bobbie sells organic baby formula, in part, by destigmatizing formula feeding. They start with their own founders, who share stories about the shame they felt when choosing formula for their child instead of breastfeeding.
Bobbie’s messaging actively calls for respect for a mother’s individual journey around feeding her baby:
“Shifting the scrutiny of how we feed to what we feed. Simply put, if you choose to feed your little one formula, it should be undeniably good, and we will be here to support you.”
Papa, a companion service for older adults and families, emphasizes the importance of connection and the ease of getting an extra pair of hands or ears, no matter how small or big the task is. Papa messages multiple benefits, to health plans, older adults, adult children, employers, and college young adults, in order to have a multi-user platform that works for all.
Yohana is a platform with a specialized team that supports families in organizing, researching, and supporting their day-to-day life. Yohana Guides help caregivers manage family life so that parents have more time for themselves and have more time for their kids. Yohana anchors their offering in taking tasks off of caregivers’ plates, thereby freeing them up to be their best and most present selves with their loved ones.
Outschool is an online marketplace for virtual children’s classes. Outschool highlights the impact of their platform to three different users of their marketplace: kids — showing them how fun learning can be; parents — showing how it’s empowering to let their kids learn from experts; and educators — highlighting the freedom to “teach on your own terms.”
MiSalud is a personalized digital health platform focused on serving Spanish-speaking communities. These care consumers may have had negative experiences that leave them distrustful of the U.S. healthcare system. In order to meet people where they understandably are, MiSalud works with influential individuals already embedded within these Hispanic communities (e.g., church groups, employers, etc.) to accelerate trust building.
They also design as little friction as possible into their earliest touchpoints–moments where skepticism could mean disengagement. New patients are directly linked to care providers, via “no-login” initial consultations where they can see a Spanish-speaking health coach for free. Prior to launching the “no-login” feature, MiSalud had previously noted that 70% of those interested in the service dropped out when asked to provide an address.
By moving to a “no-login” initial consultation, new users “see that MiSalud’s health coaches are real people, and that they really do speak Spanish fluently, [so] the trust is built so much more rapidly.”
McDonald’s illustrates how even a massive global brand in hundreds of markets around the world can adapt to diverse consumer preferences. For instance, McDonald’s caters to local tastes by taking staple menu items like the Big Mac hamburger and innovating famed variants like the Maharaja Mac in India, the McRice Burger in Indonesia, and the McBaguette sandwich in France. Even within the U.S., McDonald’s has catered to regional differences, such as with the summertime McLobster sandwich in the New England region or biscuits and gravy across locations in the South. Trust and demand is built through this kind of regional attention.
The franchise is particular about localizing its offering at every touchpoint - including how the products, brand, and physical locations are packaged around the world. For example, McDonald’s created a collectible bone-china packaging ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in the UK, and they aired an anime-style commercial voiced by Japanese idol girl group AKB48 with six different cuts for each region of Japan. McDonald’s restaurants are also often located in historical buildings, designed with playful nods to local context, or showcase stunning local architecture; examples include a timber-frame UNESCO World Heritage site building in Paris, a spaceship-themed building in New Mexico, and an award-winning glass McDonald’s designed by Georgian architect Giorgi Khmaldze in Batumi. Increasingly, consumers want to see even transnational brands acknowledging the beauty and specificity of their local outposts.