What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Children – Amin Lakhani and Sanjay Mehta

16 Sep,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Amin Lakhani and Sanjay Mehta


Not a child’s play


By Amin Lakhani


While much advertising is aimed at a broad spectrum of children, it should be recognized that there are wide differences in cognitive and emotional development between younger and older children. Kids can be segmented into three distinct age-groups defined by the way they communicate with their parents and the world at large. Babies & Toddlers (0-2 years) use distinct crying patterns to indicate whether they are hungry, in pain or just need plain attention.


Pre-schoolers (3-5 years) meanwhile begin talking and forming complex sentences, the magical words “No” & “Why” become firm part of their vocabulary and like to be involved in decision making. This gives them a sense of being a “Big Kid”. School Age kids (6-11 years) are purposeful, thinking in advance what they want and often have a plan on how to get it. At this stage they also start getting rebellious, often questioning or criticizing their parents. They do not like being treated in a manner they think is “babyish”.


They also tailor their communication to their surroundings. In a country like India, with complex regional and socio-economic diversities; conversations that marketers want to have with these segments often become tricky. While children strongly influence brand choice for many high price family purchases, a one-target marketing strategy may no longer be enough. Consider one strategy that appeals to children, another that appeals to children and their parents, and a third that focuses just on adults.




The truth about kids and social media


By Sanjay Mehta


Everyone seems to be getting on to social media – young men and women, middle-aged persons, senior citizens, teenagers…yes, just about everyone.


But what about kids? Would one consider them to be active on social media? From a brand’s point of view, is the kids’ market still elusive, where social media is concerned? Or are there opportunities that exist for brands? Let’s try and understand this intersection of kids and social media! There are four defining factors at play here:


1. The device: Social Media is no more accessed only from desktop computers. We are seeing enough statistics to show how there is increasing usage of social media, from mobile devices. While this phenomenon is strongly validated for on-the-move adults, how it impacts kids, is by way of the tablet device! The iPad, for example.


It is a fact that kids take to the iPad very easily, and seem to figure out the controls and the mechanisms, including the swipes and the pinches and what not. And that marks the beginning for them to access for example, content on YouTube.




Children pay more attention to adverts than adults, particularly when they include jingles, cartoons, humour, and elements borrowed from popular culture. This generation is internet-savvy, and can appreciate interactive campaigns. Kids hate to be sold to, but love to be respected. They want to be listened to, heard and understood. Spend time with them, listen to them talk, discover how they dream…


This is critical given that a significant chunk of these children will be digital natives. While many classic marketing approaches will still apply, interactive communication means that future campaigns are likely to run in real time. Flexibility to change direction, media, tools and message will be key. Teams of marketers will need to operate 24/7, constantly monitoring their marketplace.



So if it’s a Chhota Bheem video that appeals to the kid, parents are comfortable to set it up for the kid on the iPad, and let him be engaged on it. What happens next? There would be advertising placed within the video content there, and which also the kid sees, and gets attracted to. It would not be a surprise if the kid starts demanding the particular candy or the specific toy that might have been featured in that video!


2. The content: We must understand that social media is not just about engaging on Facebook or tweeting or blogging. If those were the cases, then perhaps the kids are a certain distance away from participating here. A particular behavior demography on social media is also called being a ‘consumer’ - a consumer of content. And they too count, who consume such social media content, and are in turn, influenced by it.


This is exactly where kids come in. There are many content producers that are delivering exciting content, both educational and entertaining, for kids, and by consuming such content, there is participation from the kids, in this space.


3. The parent as a conduit to the kid: When it comes to products and services for kids, it is not necessarily the kids who are looking for it, finding it, interacting around it, engaging around it, etc. There are a lot of parents who lean on to this medium, in order to become well, ‘better parents’.


And most certainly, via the parents, there is large- scale influence of the media, on to the kids. In terms of choices that are made, finally, for the kids! It is clear then, that kids are also getting increasingly ensnared into the world of social media, and brands would want to keep this in mind, as they plan their strategies.




Tomorrow: Wednesday, September 17:  Family – Dr MG Parmeswaran and Anuj Poddar


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