Just as a group of playful children can light up a room, so too can content marketing bring new energy to your brand. So perhaps it stands to reason that some of the best brands to consult about creative content marketing strategies are those that create products and services especially for children and their parents. After all, children are a sizeable demographic: There are approximately 74.5 million children currently living in the U.S., notes ChildStats.gov. Yet while brand messaging for young people presents many opportunities, it also presents challenges. Children don’t have the experience to distinguish between a compelling pitch and a sales-y one. They can’t necessarily recognize the difference between a product that will bring lasting enjoyment from a gimmick that will hit the closet shelf after it comes home from the store. To that end, successful brands must bring equal parts cute and fun to clearly communicate value to both children and their moms and dads. Here are just a few brands and ideas from the world of young people that will bring a smile to your face—and turn on a few creative lightbulbs in your mind.
Lesson #1: Less is more
We’d be remiss to go any further before actually showing you a picture of an adorable baby, which is why we include an image from March of Dimes’ online ecard service. This nonprofit strikes a fantastic balance between informing donors about its work while leaving them with those warm fuzzies we know and love. March of Dimes is committed to serving moms, babies and the families of children with special needs, and this collection of cards underscores the value of that mission. Heartwarming photos and carefully selected text communicate a powerful message.
Lesson #2: Keep mom in mind
Many brands invariably cater to multiple groups of consumers, but moms are a particularly significant demographic. Children, after all, typically owe their purchasing power to their parents (barring some kind of “Freaky Friday” scenario). Moms also are mobile and engaged on platforms where content marketers work their hardest, social@Ogilvy reports. The social solutions firms recommends a focus on authenticity and video micro-content, among other factors, for maximum effectiveness. Long-form content can also work well if it is educational, says Tatiana Peck at BigSpaceShip.com. Use articles to explain a foreign subject —- she uses as an example the development of a baby’s taste for food -— and relay why your product or service might be beneficial as a result. Whatever your brand’s core functions, draw on in-house expertise to inform your target audience and have fun in the process.
Lesson #3: Tug at those heartstrings
There’s no shame in making your audience cry so long as the tears are of the happy variety. A great case in point is the Fisher-Price short film “Wishes for Baby,” which debuted New Year’s Day. Shot in eight locations around the world, the film shows real-life families welcoming their newborns. Ad Age provides excellent insight into the making of the video and Fisher-Price’s overarching content strategy to underscore the value of its products in childhood development. Consider how your brand can bring genuine human emotions into content so that it resonates honestly. Stunning photos and videos are ideal ways to capture concepts impossible to put into mere words. A final example: Don’t miss this beautifully made video from Procter & Gamble encouraging viewers to support Special Olympics athletes and their moms.
Lesson #4: Provide utility
Good content is made better by a call to action. Using Pinterest, Huggies empowers its online audience to get creative with a suite of boards aimed at achieving baby shower excellence. From vintage décor to food, games and favors, Huggies crawls ahead for the win by pairing a clearly branded Pinterest page with helpful tips and tricks brought together in one place. Several of its boards are a fusion of ideas from Huggies and select experts, which adds an element of fun. In the same vein, Crayola provides a Kids’ Playzone where young people can build their own coloring pages, play games and more. Branding is subtle and the message is less about sales and more about putting creativity to great use. Have fun with your audience! It’s important if you expect to build a lasting relationship with your loyal followers.
Lesson #5: Let your imagination soar
Few things stand between children and a good time. Capturing that boundless energy is one of the reasons Lego has been so successful, notes Kylie Jane Wakefield over at the NewsCred Blog. By integrating content into blockbuster events such as Comic Con and emphasizing an adventurous spirit, Lego has literally built an empire, Wakefield points out. Remember that no matter your content marketing experience, it can pay off in big ways to take calculated risks. Assume that childlike mindset, let down your guard just a bit and try something new for your brand. We’re not even kidding.