Sujoy Roy Bardhan
Guest Article

Keep it simple, not silly

Our guest author presents a guide for brands to create connections with kids.

Albert Einstein famously said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

It is the power of imagination that empowers kids to move beyond the bounds of reality, beyond what is possible. They have an innate ability to create a whole world of fantasy around anything that they like.

To them, nothing is impossible! They are smarter than we think and more clued-in than we realise. For us marketers, it is a matter of harnessing this power of imagination that kids possess, to create messages that are smart, yet simple, through interesting campaigns, exciting experiences and content that is truly innovative and imaginative. And, the best way to that is: the kids way.

K: know no boundaries

The best part about catering to kids is that there is no limit to the ways in which you can engage with them. Once a kid likes a character, or forms a connection with a toon, he or she would like to have it integrated into every aspect of their life. This engagement may or may not be limited to its original platform.

For any brand that’s keen on forming a deeper connection with kids, this is the biggest reason to not limit themselves to a single touch point. Kids are sponge-like – willing to absorb information and waiting to soak in new experiences.

This opens a world of exciting opportunities for marketers to connect with their young audiences through multiple avenues. It could be on screen through content they enjoy or on ground – by creating exciting experiential avenues for them, or digital – where they can interact with their favourite toons.

These avenues can range from thematic experiential zones, meet-and-greet sessions with their favourite toons. Or, through licensing and merchandising, where kids further get to spend more time with the characters they like in the form of their images on tiffin boxes, bags, apparel and more.

I: influence them right

Kids are not the easiest to persuade, they have a mind of their own. If they like something the first time they try it, they’ll probably grow to love it. However, if they dislike something, getting them to change their minds is extremely difficult.

It is, thus, important to engage the right circle of influence to ensure that kids are connecting with your brand in a positive manner. Be it peer groups, parents or teachers, these are all people that significantly influence the way kids perceive their world. However, there are other influences on kids that they consider to be their best friends – their favourite toons.

Hence, for an entertainment brand, it becomes extremely important that the kids find characters that we create, relatable. Someone they can look up to, can learn from and become best friends with. This also opens incredible opportunities and avenues for us to avail the fandom of these characters to maintain a steady flow of communication with our young audiences.

D: dance to their tunes

There is a reason behind the emergence of Generation Alpha to become one of the key decision-makers at home. It is their wishes that mostly influence the decisions of everyone around them. And no, I don’t mean they just have pester power, they have something far more.

Today’s kids are well connected to the world around them. They research, talk to their peers, observe and never hesitate to act. We have recognised this generation's potential, through our initiative SEARCHLIGHT, a consistent effort that throws light in understanding kids’ preferences better.

S: simplify your communication

The final piece in the puzzle, when it comes to connecting with kids, is, perhaps, the most important one: keeping it simple! Simplicity is the concrete foundation on which every other communication pillar stands firm.

This is, perhaps, the reason why toon characters with unlayered storylines, become fan favourites and command repeat views. In a way, toons are kids’ best friends. And, the only way for them to fall in love with their favourite character is by building a simple, yet strong relationship with them.

(The author is Sujoy Roy Bardhan, head - marketing, on air promotion & licensing – Sony YAY!)

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