Recent marketing research has revealed that Millennials aren’t especially brand conscious or brand loyal. But that might be a bit misleading, since kids have always been skeptical about consumer product marketing, especially hard-sell tactics. If anything has changed, it’s the explosion of consumer brand marketing online, where kids live. Millennials simply tune it out. They choose which brands they wish to interact with, and they do it on their own terms. But make no mistake: Kids drive many families’ purchase decisions and have considerable purchasing power of their own — and they do form brand relationships — so connecting with them is a must. They are often referred to as “kidsumers,” and they truly are.
Consider: Kids have favorite entertainment brands now just as previous generations have had; treasured movie stars, singers and animated, virtual characters populate their text messages and direct peer communication. These are powerful brands, and if they stay true to their values, kids stick with them until they move on to new, age-appropriate choices. Given this allegiance to pop-cult superstars, it’s no wonder that consumer product brands seek to leverage their power with licensing agreements. But that alone doesn’t necessarily ensure success. Licensed consumer products will only do well if they capture the essence and values of these brands in an authentic manner. That’s why the front panel of packaging is more important than ever; it is crucial in connecting the brand with its fans.