Start with the Consumer Needs, Not the Compliance Needs

Creators that rank highest with kids are the ones who prioritise entertaining them. Start with their needs, not the compliance needs.

Creators that rank highest with kids are the ones who prioritise entertaining them. And at KidsKnowBest, kids voices are at the heart of everything we do. By talking to kids and having their input, we create content that relates and speaks to them. 

Chatting to kids during our Youth Trend Spotting (YTS) calls, we know their favourite creators include DanTDM, MrBeast, and Charli D’Amelio. Also, we know comedy is the second most popular category among kids behind gaming on YouTube and the number one category on TikTok, with 41% of kids saying comedy is what they watch most.

‘MrBeast is good with charities, he’s not like typical American YouTubers, he tries to do things for the good, and he’s funny.’
Girl, 11, Leeds

Irreverent content, pranks, and an endless stream of memes are things kids find most entertaining, so brands should tap into their funny side and not take themselves too seriously when creating content for kids. Start with their needs, not the compliance needs.

Entertain First

Kids aren’t any different to adults in how they experience things. They have wants and needs, just like us, and although brand safety is essential and what parents look out for, it isn’t a selling point for kids. That’s not to say brand safety and compliance isn’t important; it’s vital, just as it is when creating for adults. However, it is fun and creativity that entices us. You can be fun, creative, and compliant all at once.

‘On YouTube, I watch KSI. He makes videos, maybe Try-Not-to-Laugh videos or football videos. He’s funny and he’s like a good role model towards people. It’s funny like some of the things he says or the way he laughs or what he does.’
Boy, 14, Leicester

Think of it as a seatbelt: all cars need seatbelts, but no one invented the car with the seatbelt as the core focus. Of course, safety innovation exists. Take Nils Bohlin, who saved millions of lives with his three-point safety belt invention in 1959. Yet, it took time for consumers to adopt and change habits, with usage amongst Swedish car users as low as 25% in 1965, before mass adoption of over 90% by 1975. Safety simply isn’t that exciting: safety is a need, very rarely a desire. Upon buying a new car, no one has ever asked you, “what are the seatbelts like?”. Likewise, for kids’ content, safety and compliance are essentials that come after the exciting stuff.

Edutainment

The two examples compared below establish why placing the audience’s needs first is vital. Both videos would be classed under the ‘Edutainment’ category and revolve around the history of the world. Edutainment is a brilliant example because the goal of this content is to educate viewers. Yet, without entertaining first, no one will be engaged enough to stick around for the educational part. By comparing Creative A and Creative B, we’ll see why entertaining content is crucial for excellent results. 

Creative A – History of the world, I guess 

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into the kitchen to see my twin daughters (8) in hysterics around the table. There is no better sound in the world than hearing your children laugh, so I was keen to see what they were watching. They told me it was, “The history of the entire world, I guess, and it is really funny.” I wasn’t sold until I started watching. 

What I watched was almost 20 minutes of brilliant edutainment. Bar the swearing, it was the perfect example of content that both kids can love and adults can endorse. Within 19 minutes and 25 seconds, I learnt at least five new things and then went onto Google to search more around these topics. As well as laughing a lot, my daughters learnt a lot, and they quoted facts from the video to me for an entire week.

‘I like the type [of educational videos] that like, try to make it fun along the way.’
Boy, 9

Digging a little deeper into the creator, Bill Wurtz is also responsible for another social phenomenon with his meme-hit, ‘I just did a bad thing’, that took over TikTok in mid-2019 and continues to see content created around the sound. Bill has a track record of creating content that resonates with kids and feels authentic at the same time. When creating content, brand safety is most definitely not his priority.

 

Creative B – History for kids

Upon looking up ‘History of the world kids’ on YouTube, I found Creative B was most relevant for the search term. The format is very similar to Creative A, but this is where the similarities stop. Here is a video where the creator has prioritised needs over desires: the need to educate in front of the viewer’s desire to be entertained. If you watch both videos, what they are trying to convey is almost identical. However, the delivery of messaging is entirely different, and that shows in the results below.

Creative C: A Happy Medium

So, where is the perfect meeting point? It seems a creator named Nuttybartony got there before any of us. He sensed an opportunity to jump off the back of Bill Wurtz’ viral hit, read some of the comments on how users wished there was a version with no swearing that their teachers could show in schools, and edited up a kid-friendly version. And so, we have Creative C. This video is the perfect case study to show what can happen when you put the audience’s needs in front of your brand’s needs.

‘I like Vox because it explains the news in a helpful way without the added political or religious view, they make it look less scary than the TV news.’
Boy, 15

Compliance is a given, not a starting point. Kids deserve creative content designed for them, not designed for what adults think is suitable for them. There’s no fun in that. The brands that emerge and perform best are often the ones that think outside the box. In a media world obsessed with itself and the perception of ‘doing the right thing’, whatever that ‘right thing’ may seem to be at the time, we seem to have forgotten about the most important thing, the consumer. In this case, the kids, because ultimately, they do know best.

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