Tuesday 1 October 2019 6:26 am

The Beano’s message for brands: Think more ‘kid’

Emma Scott is chief executive of Beano Studios.

Once the epicentre of hacks, liquid lunches, and anonymous sources, Fleet Street now finds itself home to international Emmy-nominated content makers, creatives, and digital gurus. In fact, Beano’s London HQ has been based in Fleet Street since 2016.

As well as taking the famous (and infamous) Dennis and Gnasher global in our new animation – and now having a bigger digital audience of kids in the US than in the UK – we help businesses connect with children and families in a way that resonates, ensuring that brand messages stick, like our work with ITV and Veg Power motivating kids to eat their greens. 

The truth is, kids these days are a positive force to be reckoned with, and they’re also the most powerful influencer in the home and the family. But they’re not asking for more sweets, they’re asking for a better world, and are already taking steps to lead the way. 

They’re natural lobbyists, and young people are the driving force on issues like climate change and key social agendas. Businesses and brands should seize the opportunity to actively help them and harness this energy to improve the world. Beano for Brands was set up to help companies do just this.

In June, we made our first appearance at the prestigious Cannes Lions festival under the Beano Studios brand – a sign of just how far we’ve come. Yet while the industry drank rosé and played brand-purpose bingo, Extinction Rebellion protesters were being arrested on the Palais steps. 

The current crop of kids see through this kind of hypocrisy. They simply won’t stand for so-called “woke-washed” brands preaching what they won’t practice. They’re passionate to rebuild communities, rally around causes, and they aren’t just glued to screens getting square-eyes – they’re using them to learn about the world.

The youngest generation are tech-empowered, not tech-obsessed; our recent research into “generation alpha” (children aged under 10) found an astonishing 86 per cent of these kids are using new technology to design, build, and make things. They’re creating video content, tinkering with electronics, and enjoying robotics and computer coding. 

Generation alpha has the potential to spawn the next wave of Elon Musks before they even leave school, and brands need to be ready for it. Given that there’ll be two billion of this cohort in the world by 2025, it’s amazing that the industry isn’t talking more about them; it’s a generation that we can learn from.

They have enthusiastically gotten behind social causes like climate change, as shown by the influence of Greta Thunberg, who many of the kids on our trend spotter panel identify as an important person in their lives.

These kids are the real influencers and activists in the home, informing and shaping the decisions of their parents, wider family, and society in ways that we haven’t seen before. Three quarters of them feel that it’s important to speak out about causes they believe in. Across the board, the so-called “Greta effect” is here to stay. 

We’re lucky enough to have such a passionate, caring generation coming up. The message to everyone is clear: business should be child’s play – so let’s all think more kid.

Main image credit: Chris Radburn/Glasgow

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