I was lucky enough to attending Haymarket’s conference ‘Appeal to & Engage Today’s Children & their Parents’. There was a fab line up of speakers including:
- - Jonathan Storey from Disney Stores
- - Mark Goodchild from Children’s BBC
- - Carrie Longton co founder of mumsnet
- - Mark Foster, Hasbro
- - Ed Biden, Swapit
There were some great topics debated ranging from the ethical use of pester power – which was probably the most controversial subject – to using games to engage kids around brands. I came away with loads of useful stuff, too much to put in one blog post, so I’ve tried to summarise what I’ve learnt in a Top Ten, of no particular order.
De1. Delivering brand messages through games is the most effective way of engaging kids [this from Ed at Swapit, a community where kids swap stuff for virtual currency – almost like the Swap Shop of my youth]. This maybe stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s worth doing. The tips that Ed were to include the following in any game design:
a. Incentives: social and value based
b. Understanding: clearly explaining the rules
c. Feedback: build in a way for kids to know how well they are doing
d. Steps: breakdown the game into stages
e. Tools: clearly show what is needed to play
f. Socialising: a way to play or share with others
Doing these 6 things will make the game very compelling.
2. 2. Make the child’s experience magical. This from Jonathan at Disney, who aims to make the visit to the Disney store ‘the best 30 mins in a child’s day’. In the Disney stores they create fantastic story telling experiences and spark the imagination of children.
Not every brand is Disney, but there is a lot we can learn from the way it creates a wonderful experience for children.
3. 3. Any marketing to children should be interactive. This was from pretty much everyone. When kids experience the brand on or offline they should be able to interact and play with it.
4. 4. No longer about blockbuster moments but about creating experiences. Mainly from Mark at the beeb, but most agreed that campaigns where kids experience the brand are much more successful than those that create blockbuster moments e.g. 30 sec TV spots.
5. 5. Marketing to kids is cheaper than marketing to parents. Maybe I should have known this but, I found this fact quite surprising.
7. 7. Companies are responsible for any UGC on their site or other online property they own e.g. Facebook Page. This was mainly from the ASA and IAB. It was a broad statement in response to a question about the forthcoming extension of the CAP code to online. However, they didn’t address the audience’s concern about shared media [users comments on brand profiles in social media].
10. 10. Convey how products make life easier when targeting parents. Parents respond best to messages about saving time and money. However, don’t add spin. If a product is full of chocolatey goodness, don’t try and convince mums it is healthy chocolate. Tell it like it is – it’s a treat or guilty pleasure – honesty always works.