In a recession it can seem bad business to direct any of your marketing spend towards children, when adults are the ones with what little money there is around, but in fact, marketing to children can bring a big return on investment if you do it ethically and sensitively. Promotional clothing can be a big hit with kids if you get it right.
Why aim at children?
• Kids love having something of their own, and this will create brand loyalty when they are old enough to spend their own money – okay that’s long-term planning but why not?
• Children use pester power to influence adults – when you see kids eating a meal in a certain fast food restaurant this half term you can bet their glum parents would rather be somewhere else, but the free toy in the meal box won the child over and the whining child won the parents over …
What to do to get youth marketing right
• Don’t try to impress young people with your up-to-dateness. It’s really hard to pick out something truly trendy, so plain white T-shirts with an attractive slogan or logo might say ‘modern’ to you but ‘retro’ to a twelve-year-old. Just choose the best design you can and let the kids call it what they will, you want them to wear it, and if they like it, they will.
• Make sure your garments are ethical – many young people are very aware of fair-trade and organic concerns so don’t give them a chance to reject you or your brand on the basis of your T-shirt choice.
• Think seasonally – for younger children, parents choose clothing, so a sun-hat or baseball cap in summer or a warm hat in winter can mean your brand is displayed every schoolday as the grown-up makes sure the child is protected from the sun or winter cold.
• Bags are a great idea too, as most girls and an increasing number of boys will now carry a tote bag to school or college.