Serious Play: Marketing & Branding for Companies That Sell to Kids

Marketing to parents and branding for kids with any product is a challenge, and marketing something that is intended for children requires an extra degree of care and attention. The intended audience of your product may not be the same as the audience for your advertising.


Plastic toys in a row. Colorful small toys.


In other words, everything you do to market and brand your products must take two groups into account – and that can be a tricky thing to accomplish.

Logo Design Challenges for Kids’ Products

You might be selling a product that’s intended for children, but very few children have the money or the agency to buy such products themselves. That means that your kids logo must appeal to both children and parents – and that the logo you choose, in particular, must convince parents that your product is something they want to get for their children. Do a logo research first so that you know that you are aiming to the right audience.

Being Kid Friendly and Parent Approved

Some companies have a clear audience. They sell a product that’s aimed at an easily-defined target audience and their marketing and branding speaks to that audience. It might not be easy, but it’s at least straightforward.

Choosing a logo for a company that sells kids’ products, though, requires some careful attention to detail. Your logo must have kid appeal, since it will appear on your products and in advertising, but it also has to speak to parents since they’re the ones paying for your products.

The key is to strike the right balance so that you seem to be a serious company that cares about kids as well as a company that understands what kids want.


Mario, Luigi, Yoschi figures standing next to each other


Specific Logo Design Challenges

The primary elements of logo design are colors, fonts, shapes, and images. All four must work together to create a coherent image – and in this case, one that appeals to kids and parents alike.

Many companies that market to kids choose bright colors for their logos. Primary colors of red, blue, and yellow are popular, as are other bright and playful colors. While many company logos stick to one or two colors at most, kids’ logos often use the entire rainbow.

Playful fonts are rarely appropriate for company logos, but companies that market to kids are an exception. Very few people would want to do business with an insurance company that used a Comic Sans font, but companies that sell toys and other kids’ products can use them if they wish.

The same is true of images. Cartoon characters, toys, and other kid-friendly images may be incorporated into a logo. The key is not to go overboard with it. The logo you choose must appeal to parents too and a company may be seen as mercenary or even unscrupulous if it markets too aggressively to children.

Finally, shapes for kids’ companies’ logos tend to be circles or triangles. Circles indicate warmth, inclusion and safety, while triangles symbolize growth and creativity. The logo you pick must strike an appropriate balance, using colors, fonts, images, and shapes to appeal to kids and parents alike.


Logo Analysis

To get an idea of how to balance kid appeal with parental approval, let’s look at a logo that we designed and see how the various elements came together.

Smarty Kids Party is a logo that is marketing to parents and kids. Playful kids on a circle with many different colors

This logo incorporates many of the things we have already discussed. First, it uses kid-friendly colors in a way that is still appealing to parents. Instead of overly bright colors, it uses slightly muted shades.

The cartoonish image is fun without going over the top, and the images chosen emphasize this company’s mission – to entertain children while also teaching them. The image of the spinning globe suggests a classroom, but the kids’ playful postures make it clear that they’re enjoying themselves.

The two primary shapes here are circles and triangles. A circle is a good shape for a party since it symbolizes community and inclusion, while the triangles are a symbol of growth and learning.

All told, this logo sends the message that the company cares about kids and wants to teach them something in a way that’s fun and entertaining. In other words, it’s an ideal logo to appeal to both kids and their parents.

Branding Effectively to Kids and Parents

Choosing the right logo is only the first step when it comes to marketing your company. The branding message you use must be consistent with your logo and walk the same line in terms of reaching parents and children.

Branding Consistency across the Age Gap

Just as your logo needs to appeal to parents and kids, so does your branding. In some ways, branding can be trickier than logo design because parents are likely to be highly analytical and critical when they seek out products for their children, while kids may be concerned only with the pleasure they will get from a particular product.

In some cases, bridging the gap may mean finding a tone that speaks more to parents than kids while still using kid-friendly colors images. You might decide to focus on the educational aspects of your products while also making it clear that kids enjoy them.

Tips for Effective Branding For Kids

Perhaps the most important decision you can make when branding a company that makes products for children is to know who your audience is. If you’re marketing products for young children, then your audience is most likely made up of parents, while products aimed at teenagers may speak directly to them (while still keeping parents in mind.)

Developing a customer persona can help you determine the correct tone and message for your products. For example, a company that makes educational toys might focus on the learning benefits of their products while using a warm tone that emphasizes that the company in question genuinely cares about children.

Marketing Ideas for Kid-Friendly Companies

Once you have decided on a logo and developed a customer persona, it’s time to market your products. Even professional marketers make mistakes sometimes, which is why it’s important to develop a marketing strategy and then adjust as you go based on your results. Here are some ideas to help you appeal to parents and children.

Video Marketing and Why It Appeals to Kids and Parents

Video marketing is more popular than ever. In fact, today YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google, and the average person watches videos online every day.

The benefits of video marketing are clear, and it’s equally clear that making videos part of your marketing strategy is a good way to appeal to kids and their parents at the same time.

A video that shows kids using your products is a great way to demonstrate its benefits. Some of the most popular marketing videos are those that combine storytelling and marketing.


A little boy playing in the sand on a sunny beach


It is important to note that many kids now have access to the internet on their own. They have smartphones, computers, and tablets. It’s important not to be misleading in your videos. Some companies have come under fire for implying that items were included with their products that were actually not included.

Sharing short videos on Instagram and Snapchat is a great way to connect with young people, who have a high degree of comfort with social media.

Social Media is used to market for parents and kids alike

Speaking of social media, there’s a reason that social media marketing has become a must for many companies. A huge number of adults and children around the world use at least one social media site on a regular basis.

One of the extremely beneficial things about putting social media into your marketing mix is that you can use their sophisticated targeting tools to reach the people who are most likely to buy your products. That may mean targeting parents of young children, who may be very susceptible to social proof and peer recommendations of products for their kids.

Of course, you can also use social media to market directly to kids. Focusing on sites whose demographics skew young, such as Snapchat, can be a very good way to connect with your target audience.

Whichever social media sites you choose, make sure to stick to a content posting schedule and use management tools to help you stay on track.

Email Marketing Ideas

Email marketing is most effective as a tool for marketing to parents. Parents are always on the lookout for good products to help their kids, and email marketing gives you an opportunity to establish relationships with the people on your mailing list and educate them about the benefits of buying your products.

One technique to try is the soap opera marketing sequence. This term is used to describe a series of marketing emails that tell a story, using suspense and cliffhangers to keep readers hooked. For example, you might use such a sequence to share a customer testimonial, starting off with some dramatic details about a child struggling in school and building up to the solution.

Email marketing allows you to reach out directly to parents and explain the merits of your products – and email marketing has a higher success rate than many other marketing tactics.

Conclusion – Marketing For Parents

Marketing to parents and kids at the same time can be difficult, but it’s a challenge you can meet. The key is to determine which group is your primary audience and then target your branding and message to them. Provided that you maintain your focus and convey a consistent brand message, you can get the return you want on your marketing investment.

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