Embracing the power of “playground currency”
This means both speaking and listening to their audience in question, something Beano for Brands does with their Trend Setter panel. This is made up of a selection of children that the agency speaks to at least once a week. As Garrett says of the partnership between panel members and agency staff, “Our creative work is co-created.”
This panel gives the agency authentic insight from the cultural and media landscape this generation are navigating. Garrett explains that the panel “is fundamental to our sector, to the work we produce. It allows us to stay on point and reactive; we can optimise work as we go.”
Garrett describes the insights they receive as “playground currency”, what’s hot and what’s not. And this, for Gen Alpha, is a sliding scale that can change abruptly week by week. Without the ongoing insight from their panel, Garrett believes it’s next to impossible to keep up with the youngest generation.
For brands, they need to develop a deeper understanding of the next generation. The only way they can successfully speak to them, says Garrett, is to understand what they like, what they watch and how they’re choosing to identify.
An ongoing project
It is clear that understanding Generation Alpha is an ongoing project for Beano and Garrett. “We’ve just scratched the surface,” she explains. With a different craze happening each week, it’s only by speaking to the young people themselves that the agency will truly understand how to help brands authentically connect with them.
Garrett says of Beano for Brands’ future that “we will continue to monitor their [Gen Alpha’s] progress and in turn help brands to navigate an ever-changing digital landscape.” Brand behaviour must shift as their audience’s does. Most importantly, the advertising industry “need[s] to stop being so clumsy with our communication.”
In the midst of an advertising ecosystem in which authenticity is the ultimate currency she offers two succinct pieces of advice. Firstly, “keep the creative bar high” and secondly, something she believes is applicable across most industries, “keep perspective.”
With the oldest members of Gen Alpha still yet to reach secondary school, this is a generation whose world is changing at speed around them. They can keep up; it’s the brands that are struggling with the pace of change. For Beano, this is a challenge they are ready to take on, while helping brands to do the same in an authentic way.