Companies need to ensure their brands come across as useful, direct and friendly if they want to appeal to children, according to James Erskine, m.d. of specialist marketing agency Rocket.
Erskine appeared on the line-up of The Bookseller Children’s Conference on Thursday (1st October) to talk about Generation Alpha (children born in 2010 or later). His company surveyed 1,000 children and their parents about what families want from a brand—63% said they want brands to be useful, 59% said friendly and 51% said direct.
The most popular brands are Disney, Marvel, the BBC, YouTube, McDonald's and Apple, along with numerous sweet and snack foods.
Rocket also spoke to its family base about how they felt about lockdown, with most (81%) saying they miss their friends. Another 62% said they were bored but an equal number said their family unit was stronger. Most children (66%) felt their parents wouldn’t make good teachers.
Erskine showed a video of children talking about lockdown and the statements given ranged from “I’m good” and “I’m all right” to “I feel weird, this isn’t normal” and “I’ve not enjoyed not seeing my friends”.
Book creators are in a good position to give families the kind of useful content they wanted during lockdown, he said, showing an example of the social media posts Rocket created for the London Aquarium. The posts contained educational information about sharks and were popular on social media.
“One watchword we often use when coming up with ideas to engage this audience is collaboration,” he said. “I know these kids shouldn’t be on TikTok but they are there. TikTok and Switch are about community collaboration. It’s worth considering that when looking to reach out.”
Content that is activity focused can also incentivise the audience to engage, he added.