On average, a child can watch TV ads 30,000 times a year* and he can make the distinction between a good ad and a bad ad. When we look at the impact of 100 GRPs on adults and children, the figures are stunning: Children remember brands three times better than adults.
Taking into consideration that loyalty starts to form between ages 6-12, it becomes inevitable to explore the psychological needs of the child audience for marketing success.
In childhood, the era of questioning who you are starts at the age of six. During this period, children are in search of who they are by trial and error. They begin to realize how big the world is after they have made it through the period when they copy others and imitate their role models. Unfortunately, during this process the world becomes a scary place for them and they begin to experience trust issues about the future. They become obsessive controllers in order to be able to cope with this situation.
They tend to create their own little worlds and control their own comfort zone as they figure out that they are not able to change that immense world outside. They think if I cannot control the world around me, I will control my own little world. This period, called Control Madness, is one of the most dominant times in childhood. It usually takes place between ages 6-8 although it is not the same for every child. Children in this period manifest three behavioral trends: “Collecting”, “Nurturing and growing”, and “Personalizing”.
Collecting is valuable due to the confidence ownership gives in the physical world. Therefore, collectable items such as stickers, cards, or game characters have importance. As the digital world replaces activities like collecting cards with the advancement in technology, one can notice that all the games and applications developed for this age are based on collecting clothes, items, or game characters.
Nurturing and growing is another expression method for controlling the world. Children mostly pressure their parents at this age for the first time to adopt a pet or they start to take more interest in their siblings. For control freaks, being responsible for something means having more control within the world created. That is why games, that require the care of a character for 24 hours, are more attractive.
Personalisation is the final trait of this universe. At this stage, mainly the physical appearance is personalized, however, posters on the wall, the avatar in a game that is being played, the game characters that are selected – they all get their share.
The phase that comes after the questioning-who-you-are period, is called ‘Anxious Belonging’. This period is mostly experienced at ages 8-10. The anxious belonging live entirely focused on “we” unlike the “me” phase where control freaks strive to define themselves. Thus questions like how can I become a part of my friend group, how can I differentiate myself more within my group become important. If needed, they go around in groups of ten and they want to look two years older. They are champions among peers within the group. In fact, they are all peers since they are a group, however, they all have attributions that will differentiate themselves from one another.
The anxious belonging exhibit three main behavioral trends: “Labeling”, “Communication”, and “Comparing to coevals’.
‘Labeling’ is the period they say I exist as much as I ‘like’, I exist as much as the things that I ‘like’. They take ownership of the movies, books, and celebrities they like so that they can concretize their personality within the group and be accepted. They do not use Facebook to upload more photos but to share what they like and to express I belong here as well.
‘Communication’ is a must have for the anxious belonging because they do not want to be forgotten even for a moment within the group. Therefore they use alternative messaging platforms effectively.
‘Comparing to coevals’ is indispensable for externalizing superiority among equals. This way they get the chance to reflect how they exist within the group: the most beautiful, the most industrious, the funniest, the craziest... Digital games which are integrated with social media or which have developed an alternative messaging platform, seem indispensable for reaching this target audience.
Following the anxious belonging period, there is a phase which is dared by some and by-passed by others: ‘Identity Explorers’. Usually, at ages 11-12, different personalities and different identities are being tested. Even different social networks are used for different social groups. Around the age of 14, this search for identity finds home under a single identity, a single personality roof.
Between ages 6-12, loyalty to brands begins. Kids are inclined towards brands that respond to their needs, that understand them and the questions on their minds.
GOLDEN RULES IN KIDS’ MARKETING:
New information impresses the adult. The child does not care about new information. The child looks for fun and buys if you entertain.
In advertising, concrete and direct messages must be given to those under age 10. These messages must be able to be understood the first time. For above age 10, advertisers must pay attention that the message in the ad is interpretable and explorable.
FANTASY/CARICATURE characters are interesting to children younger than 10 while for those older than 10, REAL/ASPIRED (and famous) characters are of interest. The favorite celebrities of children are Hadise, Tarkan, and Murat Boz and their favorite cartoon characters are Pepee, Caillou, and Ben 10.
For below-10 age group, a happy story must be formulated. The speaking tone must be fun, exciting, adventurous and yet simple. For above age 10, the tone must be funny-ironic and cool.
One must use sweet tones for below age 10 and soundtracks for above age 10.
6. PRODUCT INSTALLMENT:
The product must stand in the center for those below age 10 but when passed that age, the product must be made the hero.