What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Children – Amit Tripathi

30 Sep,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present a contribution by Amit Tripathi. This is the concluding contribution from the ‘Children’ section of the Annual.



The new kid on the block


By Amit Tripathi


Children represent arguably the most important demographic for brands. Not just because of their own purchasing power, but the sheer influence that they have on the buying decisions of their parents. Not to mention, that these are the adult consumers of the future.


I often speak to my clients about how my son (all but 8 years), beats me hands down in Angry Birds or Temple Run, or is able to figure out a new game or app faster than I can. Most of the people I end up talking to, concur that they witness the same trend around their homes as well. This often makes me ponder what is it that differentiates this generation from ours; after all we invented the tools they use. And herein lies the answer. While we invented the tools and adapted to them, the child of today is born into the era of the digital devices. The digital divide which most people struggle to bridge, is simply the environment that the children are today born into.


The child today is exposed to smart-phones, smart TVs, smart tablets, literally a smart world. While the debate on the negative side effects can be left to another day, but the fact stays, that the generation today is born into a connected world and the way they consume content and engage is radically different from the generation all but 10 years ago.


As a result the industry spends on marketing to this generation is not just booming, but also undergoing a radical shift. The tools of a decade ago are redundant today and most brands are struggling to keep pace with this new kid on the block.




Parents today, are willing to invest more on their kids because of trends such as smaller family size, dual incomes, and couples postponing having children later in life, but most importantly, the guilt of paucity of time for children results in parents splurging them with material goods as a replacement for time spent.


Age-old marketing approaches are relevant today too, but with a modern day twists. One of the oldest and best strategies is “Pester Power”. Brands can rely on making the kid pester the mom into buying rather than going to the mom herself. Get a child hooked onto your brand by ‘gamification’ or a smart device storytelling and you will have a customer who will be forced to buy your product every time a child sees the brand in a store.


Secondly, marketers must marry psychology with marketing. To actively market to children, given the fast paced changing environment, a brand must know what makes the child tick. With the help of analytics and research trends, brands can establish a pattern of child’s developmental, emotional and social needs at different ages. Using this research that analyses a child’s behaviour and usage pattern, a brand can establish a marketing strategy that fits into this pattern.


Third, the seeds of brand recognition can be planted in a young mind rather easily by a brand at this age than later. Brand loyalties can be established as early as age two and by the time a kid heads off to school they can easily recognise brands and logos. What fast food and toy companies have been cultivating brand recognition in kids for years, it is now that banks and auto companies have entered the fray. Take for example Kotak Bank with its Junior Account and Skoda with the Teddy activation, have clearly targeted children with their latest campaigns.


Fourth, establishing “Peer Pressure”. Peer Pressure coupled with Pester Power can be a lethal sword in the arsenal of a brand. The idea is to find the coolest kid in a community and have them associate with your brand, simply wear the brand tee shirt, carry brand water bottle, school bags, pencil kits, caps, etc. The trick is to ensure that the market is seeded with these surrogates judiciously. Once a group of kids latches on to these, they have a snowballing effect on the brand.


Fifth, the tabs and phones. This is one of the largest and biggest engagement mediums for children today. Often taking up the mothers device to play songs, click pictures, play games, etc. This device is also often used by parents to keep the child at bay when they are engrossed with work. Hence, building a strong engagement using this device and working towards building brand engagement with the child at this time, is worth the weight in gold. The smart devices have today built the most personal medium that can take a brand to the child in the most personal of ways.


In summary, while television still remains the most dominating medium to engage with children, that is changing rapidly with more mediums trying to eat into its marketshare. New formats of engagement using technology and devices are becoming order of the day, and the new kid on the block is adapting to these at an alarming pace. Marketers can use these advancements in technology to analyse patterns and create newer patterns of engagement with these children thus working towards becoming the brand that is not recognised but also sought after.


– The author is the Chief Executive Ideator at IDEATELABS, one of the leading Digital Marketing organisations in India. Works with more than 100 brands focussed on providing new age solutions to age old marketing challenges. Follow him on Twitter: @Amit_ Tripathis.



Tomorrow: Wednesday, October 1: Family – Vikram Sakhuja and Mayank Shah


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