SuperAwesome’s Tiffany Tasker reveals how to use digital platforms as tools to build a fandom | Source: Adobe

WIELDING THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

by TIFFANY TASKER, business development director, SuperAwesome

As marketers and toy lovers, we always hope that when we launch a campaign, we’ll generate a cohort of super fans among the target audience of kids. We constantly study kids’ communities, fandoms, and behaviors, combining these elements to create the best and most up-to-date strategies for the brands with which we work.

The power of media can’t be understated when it comes to building fandoms around toys. In SuperAwesome’s latest study, movies, TV shows, and books were the main drivers for kids to purchase toys. This is nothing new — the toy industry was built on creating products to go alongside TV shows that doubled as editorial commercials.

But if your toy isn’t based on a TV show, movie, or book, digital platforms can provide the tools you need to build your own universe while creating effective marketing campaigns in time for the holiday rush. Kids in the U.S. are still going on YouTube once a day or more, giving companies plenty of digital avenues to explore.

RELATED: Marketing Toys for the Latest Viral Trends

We know that movies are effective drivers due to their character development and visual storytelling. Interestingly, kids now largely keep up with their favorite TV shows on YouTube, rather than mainstream television. To successfully create your own opportunities with branded content, we need to drill down into what kids are looking for from their favorite digital platforms.

BUILD IMMERSIVE, BRANDED GAMES IN ROBLOX

Roblox is an immersive metaverse experience that gives IP owners the opportunity to build their own brand worlds — if they have the resources and brand story to fill it. Remember, content must be additive to the experience: It’s necessary to reward the player in order to earn the gameplay.

COMBINE YOUTUBE AND ROBLOX FOR MONEY-CAN’T-BUY EXPERIENCES

Kids watch YouTube primarily for its influencers, music, and funny clips. It’s a laid-back broadcast platform, but kids are often looking to supplement it with more engagement-led experiences. Game With Me is an event platform we’ve built to bring influencer fandoms together with their heroes through an in-world Roblox experience. Our tech gives kids the money-can’t-buy opportunity to safely play Roblox with their favorite influencers on private servers. It’s a great option for brands that want to show up authentically in Roblox and develop brand equity with kids, without needing to build their own game.

When we ran a series of Game With Me sessions for MGA Entertainment (MGAE) during a recent L.O.L. Surprise! campaign, we had happy parents tweet about how excited their kids were. This experience is the type of initiative that can cut through the Q4 noise, with a reach that extends through YouTube influencer coverage.

CONNECT ON POPJAM

PopJam is the rich engagement layer for your digital reach tactics, giving kids the opportunity to co-create content and chat about their favorite things with other fans in a safe and moderated environment.

Our latest brand study found that companies on PopJam benefited from increased brand loyalty, trust, and intent to purchase. This study proves that working cross-platform to leverage multiple elements gives brands the best chance of building effective, fandom-inspiring content campaigns for kids.

A MESSAGE FROM THE KIDS

Lastly, we asked kids on PopJam for their predictions on the hottest toy and collectible trends for 2022. Surprisingly, it was the fidget spinner that topped the charts with the most mentions from our community.

Could it be linked to the Squishmallows phenomenon, which offers comfort and soothes increased anxiety levels in our new normal? Is the popularity of this simple toy a nod to kids getting their creative-play fix from the metaverse rather than real-world play?

With plenty of kids talking about building and creating their own fidget toys, at least we don’t have to worry about that … yet.


This article was originally published in the October 2021 edition of the Toy BookClick here to read the full issue!