Sent: 17-11-2009 08:55:02
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Dealing with Brand Awareness and kids
I don't know about you, but I'm constantly surprised at how much brand awareness has crept into the consciousness of my 4 year old. We don't eat at fast food restaurants, yet she knows McDonalds and Hungry Jacks, and that you get 'burgers' there. She doesn't see a lot of commercial television, but she can tell me what Barbie she wants next.
Marketers and advertisers have become very adept at getting the brand message to kids at a very early age. ABC Kids doesn't have ads, but go to a toy store or bookshop, and the products are all there. Social interaction through day care, playgroups and parties also acts as a conduit for brand marketing - word of mouth is the best advertising you can get, and kids are talking constantly about the latest branded toys, clothes, gadgets and entertainment.
Don't forget that Mum and Dad's buying behaviour and discussions are taken in too. After much deliberation and shopping around, we bought Dad an iPod for Father's Day this year. Guess what our daughter wants from Santa? Heaven help us when she gets to school.
Your money personality will be easily picked up on by your kids. If you like to 'keep up with the Jones' and regularly over-spend on branded items you don't really need, chances are the kids will learn to spend like you too. You may be overly cautious and only ever buy good quality items, but if it's a garden spade you only use once in a blue moon, you may have been better to buy a cheapy and replace it when it breaks. Minding the pennies can also backfire in cases where it is more appropriate to buy a good quality item that will last (just think of all the landfill choking up our garbage tips).
Branding can be a very useful way to impart some great lessons about spending. For example, teaching kids that some brands denote quality and reliability is a useful lesson if they are looking to purchase something for the longer term. If they want to spend on something that may be short lived, eg they want to learn to play guitar, do you go out and buy a Gibson, or do you find a cheaper brand so they can try it out without huge cost?
Use brand awareness to teach kids about quality - which brands denote quality and which brands do not, when to buy quality and when not. Also to buy quality when it is offered at a discount whenever possible. Use brand awarenesss to teach kids about value for money - some brands denote good quality, but at over-inflated prices (some bad quality at over-inflated prices). Use brand awareness to teach kids about good food choices - Hungry Jacks vs Sushi Train vs meals prepared at home from fresh produce.
You can teach useful brand awareness in any shopping situation - comparison shopping is a great way to teach kids about value for money, and branding will often feature in the product mix.
The best way to get the message across is not to say no to requests, but that they can have it if they buy it with their own money. This opens the door for lots of other great lessons like saving towards a goal, earning extra pocket money, and perhaps even buyer's remorse, but that's another article or 2 or 3.
Speaking of branding - the Kids Money brand denotes quality resources to help you teach your kids about money at good value prices. Check out the range at www.qld.kidsmoney.com.au.
Leanda Kayess DFP has over 25 years experience in the financial services industry, and is now dedicating her time to educating Mums and Dads and Kids about money. Contact her via the website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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