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Our thinking on Content Marketing is usually focussed on adult audiences due to their direct potential as customers while an immense opportunity with respect to children lies underutilised. Children as original recipients of crafted content, from their unique lens of usership, as opposed to addressing mothers deciding on products or services for junior family members. When done intelligently, it can easily signal a beautiful relationship between the brand and the emerging adult.

For starters, we must realise the basic difference in attitude between adults (senior teenager upwards) and children (four years and above) in terms of branded content. Adults like us are usually cynical about the neutrality or journalistic credentials of what they see, the content constantly seeking reprieve from paid antecedents. Children, however, are not overexposed to commercial messaging, the content they consume certainly the lifeline to their worldview. In a role reversal, the brand is seeking necessary credibility to justify its contextual role, which once established can continue courtesy smart strategy. Most simply, think of Popeye the Sailor and his love for spinach, the source of strength, or the Druid’s magic potion that gives Asterix and the Gaul clique superhuman powers. If spinach and the secret concoction were to be real-life consumer brands, they would certainly score highly in salience and likeability.

The greatest opportunity for a brand investing in content for children is a head-start in forging relationships, a formidable challenge in the world of performance-based engagements. If a scalable brand benefit can become an active ingredient in the story-telling template, its recognition can swiftly turn to high-quality engagement that can logically persist. For this to happen, the business owners must behave patiently, defining measurable objectives that are set on the increasingly old-fashioned emotional parameters, evolving year on year, as opposed to the transactional metrics understandably in vogue at the current time. A simple three-step process, the ABC Plan can help brands devise the Content Strategy for children.

‘A’ stands for ‘Audience-Ambition’ or in other words the objectives behind the desired relationship with the child, defined in terms of time-frame. An automobile for example can begin from a very early age with a clear desire to induce so much of love that it becomes an automatic choice at the time of influence and transaction. The cola or the snack can have a more immediate actionability, the task clearly to influence the mother to adhere to the stated preference. Educational institutions can come to the party comfortably through content, which makes the destination desirable and aspirational. As can every possible tech-enabled online service from Ola to Zomato to UrbanClap, depending clearly on the specific hook it wishes to amplify. Which can at times be immediately transactional but more often will be to build an emotional bridge for the long-term.

‘B’ stands for ‘Brand-Bridge’ or more specifically, how the brand becomes an enabler for the content to grow wings. Children between four and 14, especially boys, are enamoured by super-hero content so the brands must invest in developing their lovable customised stories. Imagine the Kurkure Army, a bunch of puppies inspired the Paw Patrols, who are changing the world with their crime-detection techniques. Else, a story of the Animal Kingdom, quite like Ben and Holly, which is created by ‘B Natural’ juices, the protagonists gaining immense strength each time they consume a sip. Baby Gap designing an online fashion parade for little girls, where everybody with a smart-phone can participate given the desire. For slightly older children, dramas built like ‘Wonder Years’ located in real-life colleges that will eventually solicit admission or music videos set in an amusement park, which is the marketed destination. In every case, a part of the marketing budget assigned for this ‘relationship’ audience to produce software in cahoots with media networks, to build long-term relationships.

‘C’ stands for ‘Creative-Credibility’ or in other words, the ability of this content to build an inspirational bonding with the customer, equally not be considered paid placement. As mentioned earlier, the younger audience is less cynical about brand over-engineering but is conscious about genuine integration and authentic role-playing. If, just like spinach, the child is convinced that consuming Masala Maggi converts the tired schoolboy to a high-energy prankster, depicted by imaginative stories, then he will develop respect for the brand. On the other hand, if there is suspicion that the connection is tenuous, like mainline advertising, the credibility correlation will automatically snap with this ‘honest’ customer segment, perhaps unwilling to give the brand a second chance.

If we sincerely believe in building relationships way before we secure transactions, then content marketing can be a decisive clincher to build bonds with children. The ABC Plan is a simple way to evaluate its necessity as well as ensure efficacy in execution.  So that what seems to be simply child’s play turns out to be fine specimen of brand craft.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)