A for-letter word

4moms is a robotics company founded in March 2006 which makes high-tech baby gear. 4momsAmong several other items, it offers for example, the world’s only power-folding stroller.

If that isn’t cool enough you should check out its infant tub which fits in most single and double basin sinks, where a side drain allows dirty water to drain out as fresh water flows in.

Or dig the infant seat and its five unique motions that mimic the natural movements parents make to comfort a baby.

All of the ultra-nifty technology is enough to make mom and dad put down their smart phones, and…

Wait … not dads.

This gadgetry is only for moms, right?

Well, yes and no.

Recently, we had a pleasant 140-character conversation with the friendly folks at 4moms, who enlightened us that its company name merely comes from an initial focus group held that consisted of four mothers.

Cute and unique, indeed, but in a baby world where businesses purposely leave dads out of the parenting mix, it’s a saying that’s well-worn.

Had the name been 3moms or 5moms, we never would have taken issue with anything. Imagine that the wildly-successful burger-maker franchise Five Guys had been named 4Guys – that means something else entirely, doesn’t it? We’d all perceive them differently, and wouldn’t women be deservedly up in arms?

We’re sure the desire of 4moms to match true company history with the play-on-words was too good for them to pass up, but you know who gets passed up in the process?

Dads.

Oddly enough, the company was founded by two dads.

4moms assured us that they “definitely know” that dads count too, but there’s little proof of that by way of the website and anything on the product proving otherwise. If anything, it’s just the opposite, with a 4moms logo adorned vividly.

Sure, they could add a special section honoring dads or put some extra wording on their website somewhere, but that would do little to market to the in-store shopper.

What would a company called 4dads be about? We have a few ideas, but we doubt baby products is one of them, and that’s our point.

Dads are parents too, and it’s time businesses start listening to fathers everywhere.

Judging by its products alone, 4moms seems to have a bright future ahead, and eight years in the books for a company like 4moms is kind of like eight months in baby years. 4moms is still very young.

Which is why we think it’s plenty early and not too late to consider a name revision: how about 4moms+4dads?

Such a name would pay homage to its founders, Thorne & Daley, who must deep down care a thing or two about dads.

And speaking of care, if 4moms really cares – as its charity’s name suggests – how about starting with its customers?

As in, all of them.

Spread the word on Sunbutter

Being a watchdog for the marketing/advertising world is a little bit like being a movie critic. We’re relentlessly trying to evaluate and analyze items we see, and it takes a lot for us to witness someone achieving perfection. We lean toward optimism, but after constant trying of teach an old dog new tricks, we sometimes find ourselves thrust into a position that seems cynical.

When writing about the businesses we see in print or on television, we encounter a quandary: the medium only has so much time and space to offer. We recognize the limitation, but also identify that much is expected and required of the company – the one who has invested sunbutterthousands or millions into its message and people.

A few days ago we came across a TV ad for Sunbutter, a product we use and love. We wrote about their dad exclusion, and Sunbutter immediately entered into a sincere discussion with dadmarketing. They recognized the fact they should be including dads in their slogan, and plan to incorporate them in future ads.

They “got it” right away.

We’re not here to proclaim validation. That is not our mission. Far more important, and the reason we write today, is that a company listened. We didn’t ask them to take our stance, just listen.

They didn’t appease us with a one-time corporate-speak email that they’ll “bring it to the attention of the marketing department.” They didn’t pacify us with promise of a special message-to-come only around Father’s Day. They didn’t set up a patronizing dads-only section of their website.

They simply listened. And we weren’t even expecting change, but that appears to be the direction they’re heading after some genuine, honest and open dialogue.

In short, we salute the people of Sunbutter for their exceptional ability to truly listen to their customers, because we’re one of them.

A good product – which they have – is only part of the equation. Good people is the other part of it. Having both is the sign of a great company with even better things to come.