How brands can effectively connect with kiddie consumers over the Internet
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Photo Credit: Toys''R''Us

Children want to be treated as equals: Here’s how you can while maintaining good quality, child appropriate digital campaigns.

Trak.in

When you think of branding, what are the things that can come into one’s mind? In all probability trust, sustainability, sale, timelessness, or even price. A great platform to exhibit and create relationships with the consumer, the internet has revolutionized how brands interact today.

Growing beyond flash and banner ads, the ‘in’ word for brands on the Internet is brand engagement. Possibly simple sounding, but, a great amount of thought, research and strategy goes behind every interaction that children have online.

Keeping this in mind, here are a few guidelines for marketers interacting with children on the Internet:

Content, Content, Content

A common error made by many is that when they think children, they think of ‘dumbing down’ the content. Today with kids being bombarded with so much information from multiple mediums, it is already a great challenge to hold their attention span, let alone get them to understand what your product can offer!

Children want to be treated as equals, more so when they see their peers engaging in content that is so different from theirs. This sense of aspiration must be treated with attention and urgency by brands in order to tap the ever growing number of children online.

Another aspect that brands should keep in mind is that they need to personalize content as per the age group of the children that they are targeting. Brands often tend to offer what may be considered as a safe bet across different age groups.

For example, it is taken for granted that all kids love games, but this is also because there is nothing else for a child to do! In addition, the kind of games that kids play today have no age sensitivity. We see kids at an early age playing games that are about chasing a thief, killing a villain, etc. I think not only brands but even websites should have the sensitivity towards this.

Aspire to be the mentor, not the hero

In the process of storytelling, many times we tend to make our brand the hero. While this may certainly have its short term benefits, customers today want to be seen as the hero and the brand is the person that helps the consumer aspire to be the hero. In addition, becoming a mentor serves the brand’s purpose in becoming a part of their consumer’s story.

Each child aspires to become something in life: a NASCAR driver, doctor, engineer or even an astronaut! In doing so, they would definitely look up to those avenues that help them achieve their target (whether temporary or permanent). This is where the concept of ‘in-platform’ engagement can help children be a part of the story.

For instance, worldoo.com offered kids the opportunity to select and decorate their virtual homes with special glow-in-the dark themes from Asian Paints. This not only made for a fun experience for the kids, but also allowed the brand to gain valuable knowledge on what kids really think of their products.

Every child loves the exclusive attention received from the parent. Similarly among all the clutter in the online world, allowing children to take part in the process of creating conversations will go a long way in creating fondness as well as recall for the brand.

Avoid going conventional

Brands in the children’s space have a great opportunity to go beyond advertising and conventional reach. They can build a community of kids on the internet if they stop playing the CPM or CLICK game with their digital agencies.

If brands invest in using the digital medium as a serious tool to build a kids’ community, they can innovate an all new CRM medium to tap them. Why not aspire to be the brand that looks into engaging with existing platforms and co-create content? Maybe even use the offline activations budgets into the digital medium to engage with their audience.

A mall activity would easily cost a brand a lot. But if a brand ties up with existing platforms and co-creates content, they can reach out and engage with a large number of kids at 1/10th the cost of mall activation, further winning the hearts of parents if they produce responsible content.

Don’t lock horns with the parent

Dealing with children is in essence a two-part process. One deals directly with the child as an audience and the other with the parent. No parent appreciates a direct sell to their child, in addition, they already have many concerns about their children growing up too fast for their age and becoming too materialistic.

A recent example of locking horns with parents can be seen in the U.S., where The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com stating that they charged parents over a million dollars for un-authorized in-app purchases. According to the Advertising Association of the U.K., children can recognize advertising at an early age itself but can only make judgments about it when they reach middle childhood. While parents have a measure of concern about the impact of advertising and marketing on their child, other issues that affect their own lives and that of their children take higher priority.

In such a scenario, a responsible brand will ensure not to add onto the plate of growing concerns for parents. All in all, there are no shortcuts to a child’s safety online. Making your audience comfortable is a foremost priority while looking cool for the kid and gaining acceptance from the parent.

With 134 million kids expected online in India alone by 2017 (according to The Boston Consulting Group), there is a huge potential for e-commerce companies aiming to tap a younger audience. While staying ahead of the competition is the name of the game, it is also time to take into account the responsibility of molding young minds. The right influence nevertheless will go a long way in creating loyal brand enthusiasts of the future.

This post was originally published on Trak.in.

Featured Image Credit: Toys”R”Us 

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Monish Ghatalia

About Monish Ghatalia


Founder of worldoo.com, a site that is working towards building a responsible internet for children.

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