Parents direct billions of dollars spent globally each year. Their control on family spending has a direct impact on brands and how these brands choose to reach their audiences. But children have a decision-making role too.
Gone are the days of yesteryear where parents believed that children were meant to be seen and not heard. A new generation of parents has emerged and interestingly, these parents have made their children part of the decision-making process in the household.
As families navigate the new normal of home schooling and quarantining during this Covid-19 pandemic, brands have the opportunity to tap into this behaviour and expand their consumer reach.
Research conducted by ViacomCBS Networks Africa on families shows that today’s kids and parents around the world have an interesting dynamic around brand choices and decision making. The path to purchase in households (with children) is often a negotiation between children and parents and children have been found to have the upper hand.
In the study, 87% of parents said that they initiate the purchase process in the household, often identifying what they need to buy. Then, they will let their children know about those needs and both parties will collaborate in evaluating their options.
Our study has found that both kids and parents are influenced by rational and emotional drivers. Emotion, however, is the primary driver behind decision making.
Rationally, parents want to know how much a product costs and whether their kids will enjoy it. From an emotional perspective, parents are now seeking brands that allow them to spend time interacting as a family and help them remain heroes in the eyes of their kids.
Bringing up millennials
Through our research, we found in bringing up millennials, kids’ unprecedented access to tech, financial awareness and family closeness all play a role as key drivers to family collaboration in the path to purchase. We will delve deeper into understanding millennial upbringing as a key driver to collaboration when purchasing from brands.
Previously, Generation Xers parented using a top down approach where children were ‘seen, not heard’. However, when millennials were born, the shift in parenting started to happen. Children became the centre of their parents’ worlds, given a seat at the table and often had the upper hand over their parents.
Additionally, the study shows that a majority of millennials attended daycare, participated in playgroups and played organised sports. Because of this, they learned the value of teamwork and collaboration when they were young, and these learnings are reflected in their parenting style now.
With this in mind, parents have reimagined the role of children in the family. Instead of catering to their children’s every whim, they have brought learned values of teamwork and collaboration to the fore. Parents and children now collaborate in the process of decision making in the household.
Kids are reported to influence up to 16 out of 26 categories of all household purchases and as a market segment, cannot be ignored. In fact, ignoring them means missing the mark as a brand completely.
Studies show that the influence of children continues to increase exponentially although the kinds of products marketed to them have remained the same over the years. Children have gained more affluence which makes their market segment worthy of pursuit by businesses.
Their heavy use of media and quick adoption of newer technologies give advertisers a good opportunity to market campaigns using TV, cellphones, iPads, gaming platforms and other digital platforms.
To appeal fully to households, brands also need to target and engage both kids and parents simultaneously. This can be challenging because parents and kids have different needs and interests. However, through balanced messaging that appeals and engages with both parents and children, brands can remain top of mind in any household. It is so essential that brands create messaging that reflects these new collaborative households that have emerged.
As ViacomCBS Networks Africa, we noticed that within our stable, our fastest growing channel during the Covid-19 pandemic across most target markets is Nickelodeon a children’s channel, a family channel. Interestingly, children’s programmes as a genre have seen a 49% growth in viewership, coming second to news at 99%.
This serves as testament to the power of family viewing often in favour of the younger audience channels. It also reflects that on TV, the only channels that will have high viewership by both parents and children are the kid’s channels.
Keeping kids happy
Parents, particularly moms, happily oblige to watching children’s programmes frequently in a bid to keep their children happy. The same pattern can be seen in their purchasing patterns. Kids are seen as trusted advisors to their moms on the latest products to buy because they have their pulse on trends and brands that are considered ‘cool’.
A high 76% of moms involved in the ViacomCBS study said that they often leverage their kids’ tech skills to research brand information and their kids play a massive part in the products that are bought in the household.
The channel director for Nickelodeon Africa, Tasania Parsadh, put it best when she said, “Good robust research is what underpins our content creation and understanding of our dual audience of kids and parents. While kids enjoy the animation and fun on the channels, our parents who engage with the content are avid fans too. Co-viewing homes have grown over the years and in South Africa, we frequently have toddlers, kids, teens and their parents actively watching our Nickelodeon and NickToons channels daily.”
This is an opportunity for brands to leverage the path to purchase, which studies have shown, is driven by a delicate process of negotiation. Parents and kids are working together to decide which products should be purchased in the home. Is your brand leveraging this opportunity to speak to parents in spaces where they are co-viewing with their families?
Giuliana Dias is senior director, research & insight, at ViacomCBS Networks Africa (VCNA). She has a demonstrated history of working in the broadcast media industry and is skilled in analytical skills, research design, qualitative and quantitative approaches, strategic insights and consumer insights to drive business development as well as consumer and immersive trade marketing.
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