The kids’ entertainment industry has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and even more in the past 5 years. If we think about how kids consumed content a decade ago we can certainly assure that Linear TV was their main touchpoint. The younger ones would come from school ready to watch their favorite cartoons at their tv set right before or after doing homework. They were tied to a tv schedule that followed the strategy of the network. Services as Netflix and Hulu were in the process of being launched and didn’t have the variety of content that is available now.
Kids today have the option of watching what they want, when they want it, in the platform they want it. We see it at restaurants, movie theaters, schools and basically every place we can be at. Toddlers have tablets with their favorite cartoons in YouTube while tweens and teens follow their favorite influencers on Instagram and Snapchat. However, it is important to admit that parents have induced these new viewing habits. The rise of millennials becoming parents have exposed kids to have a permanent social media presence, meaning, these babies have been “shared” since the moment they were born, and they have a list of followers, beginning the process of following and being followed.
So, we know kids are using and are involved in social media, despite COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) laws restricting their use and exposure. They share content about the content they are watching, and their parents are perfectly fine with it. Sometimes this content is educational but many times it is not. The idea of developing a kids series needs to come with a 360-degree brand approach, developing elements for social media, short and long form content, potential licensing deals and other types of content to enhance the brand loyalty.
Content Formats: Not a One-Size Fits All
Since kids viewing habits have change dramatically, content has also changed. Their attention span has decreased tremendously because they are constantly changing from one device to the other, but more often, using several devices at the same time. Whatever content catches their attention, kids will tend to share with their friends and social media outlets. Parents will do the same thing. So, in order to satisfy the need of having content everywhere, producers have felt the need of creating shorter formats that can go online on YouTube and Apps, so kids can have access to it everywhere. Often these are unique propositions that tend to support the main brand.
Influencers have also changed the way content is being produced. They create in a way that is relatable to the audience by doing an organic fusion between the brand and the piece created. Kids want to play a certain game because their favorite YouTuber does it or watch how other kids play it around the world. Same applies to tv – they watch a certain show because other kids do it and follow the main characters in real life on Instagram and Snapchat. It is not so much about the brand itself, but how can the brand be represented in a relatable way to the younger ones.
In the article “Brand loyalty starts from a very early age”, Lou Cooper says “Direct marketers that properly research and execute work targeting children and families may well be able to build future brand loyalty among young people.” But why is this? Because children influence their parents in their consuming habits, but most importantly, because those children will grow up and, if targeted properly, they will continue to be loyal to your brand. An example of this is Disney – With their younger channel, Disney Jr, they are able to bring the baby into their brand, transition them to Disney Channel viewers and giving them different touchpoints through the different stages of their life: toys, amusement parks, clothing and many others.
Experts say that kids show their brand awareness as early as 2 years old, because they are part of a world that offers them a lot since the beginning. As they grow, they will remember how the brand filled their needs, being that comfort, entertainment or the experience that the brand or the product provided overall. If as a marketer, you create the right experiences at the right moment, then you will start to develop that brand awareness that will translate into brand loyalty as time passes by. When creating meaningful experiences, kids will share them through social media and there is when the brand-following snowball experience will occur.
Couper, Lou. “Brand loyalty starts at a very early stage”. https://www.marketingweek.com/2010/06/08/brand-loyalty-starts-from-a-very-early-age/