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New study reveals children crave playful participation and fandom influence

A new study from family-focused strategy agency Kids Industries (KI) has exposed a shift from passive consumption to active engagement, with 41% of children wanting to be more creative, play and have fun with their favourite brands.

Fans are looking to take a more active role – with 22% looking to create fan art about their brand, 19% wanting to more actively engage with fandom communities (26% for 12-14 year olds) and 19% are hoping to shape and influence the very trajectory of the brands they love.

“Our latest study paints a clear picture – the number of children considering themselves a fan of something, is increasing,” commented Jelena Stosic, strategy director at KI. “76% of children worldwide (rising to 90% in India) now consider themselves fans of something, highlighting the immense potential for brands to harness this passion. Compare that to our Global Study figures a year ago (though aged 6-13 rather than 6-14 in this study) and we can see there’s been a 13% increase.

“The issue, however, is the overflowing landscape of content. Young people are bombarded with choices, making it harder than ever for brands to capture their attention and hearts.

“While children have access to more content than ever before (with the study finding 61% of parents even praising its quality), 70% also struggle with information overload, making it crucial for brands to stand out. Furthermore, 43% of parents say that their child finds it hard to focus and 34% went on to say that their child almost never watches a full episode from start to finish. So, what can brands do to cut through the noise? The answer lies in creating genuine human connections, being more open to co-creations and fan influence and generating immersive and social experiences. After all, our study found that 98% of children’s fandoms involve people, often seen as cool, happy, friendly, inspiring and brave.”

Looking ahead, the study found that 31% of children hope to experience their fandoms in new ways. 29% would like opportunities to deepen their knowledge and connect with others and sharing with family and friends will be a significant driver of engagement.

Developing a sense of closeness to characters and communities will be key.

Jelena continued: “To build and harness the strongest fandoms, brands need to focus on key opportunities that give higher emotions, attention and, therefore, build memories, too: being more personal, more open, more immersive and social. Fandom unites across generations, and by understanding the core emotional drivers, brands can unlock powerful opportunities to connect with young audiences in meaningful ways. Developing fans doesn’t come without its challenges – it’s a complex topic – but together with our service – The Fandom Model – and accompanying insights, we can help brands to activate a number of levers and better engage their audiences.”

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