What makes a brand cool for kids?

Over the last six years we’ve spoken to kids aged 7 to 14 every week, constantly tracking their spontaneous mentions. We knew which brands, platforms, celebrities and influencers were creating a buzz in the playground and in group chats and observed who stayed and who quickly went from hot to not.

What makes a brand cool?

But 12 months ago we set ourselves the challenge, to break down exactly what made a brand cool for Gen Alpha and younger Gen Z. We have conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with kids and teens. Observing first-hand what brands kids are wearing, chatting about and coveting and leaning on the expertise of our longitudinal, ethnographic, Trendspotters panel. These brands were then tested and ranked by over 30,000 7 to 14s, without any adult input, thanks to our proprietary Omnibus tool run through beano.com.

50 coolest brands for kids and teens

Not only does our list highlight the broad range of brands that kids and teens interact with: online and offline, nostalgic and new, but it also highlights the increasing discernment of Gen Alpha and younger Gen Z. These are generations where expectations and benchmarks are high. Where depth and breadth of content, full integration across multiple platforms and next day delivery are purely hygiene factors. A generation that expects guardianship of the planet and giving back alongside innovation and safety protocols.

Kids like ‘friendly’ brands

The qualities that make a brand stand out for kids can be markedly different than those for adults. Brands that help Gen A “fit in”, yet also express their individuality score highly. Those that not only allow their audience to influence and interact with the brand, but actively embrace and encourage their creator communities stand out.

It’s also important to note that even in a young audience aspiration, innovation and sophisticated content are important in driving engagement. But what struck me most amongst those differentiating qualities were two key attributes - friendliness and welcoming. So often we forget that increasingly kids and young people are navigating their way through a world designed by and around adults and brands that make them feel safe, welcomed and valued stand out for Gen Alpha. And with this generation’s predisposition for nostalgia and a mix of old and new this suggests that those brands are nurturing lifelong fans.

Written by Helenor Gilmour, director of insight at insights consultancy Beano Brain. To find out more and download the full Beano Brain Top 50 Coolest Brands for Kids and Teens visit beanobrain.com

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