How Barbie found its purpose
While Barbie have been evolving how they speak to children, almost as importantly they’ve been examining how they talk to parents. As Ferrer says, while children have changed, “Parenting has also evolved.”
The majority of parents with young children today are millennials, and they, says Ferrer, “really value brands that have a purpose.” The world their children are growing up in has shifted dramatically since millennials were young children themselves.
For Ferrer this means the way that they operate as a brand, the tone of voice they use and the purpose they position at the core of their business had to shift to reflect the people they were trying to reach. “We realised for a long time we weren’t talking about the word purpose,” she adds.
Barbie as influencer
To do so, they needed to examine alternative methods of communicating with their audience. One of these was to position Barbie as an influencer in her own right, as a YouTube vlogger. The brand has just shy of 7.8 million followers on the platform as well as 2.1 million on Instagram.
It’s a digital landscape where ‘kidfluencers’ are ever growing. Ryan Kaji, of the YouTube channel Ryan’s World has 22.3 million subscribers and a net worth of £17.7 million according to childcare.co.uk. YouTube is where you can reach both the children who’ll play with your toys and the parents who’ll be the ones to buy them.
Barbie created a series of videos exploring various issues affecting young girls. For example, there is an episode that Ferrer cites as one of her favourites about how girls apologise a lot; Barbie advises viewers to say thank you instead.
The brand is also developing product and content for parents with tips on how to help their daughters. Although she admits the brand isn’t doing enough, Ferrer adds, “We will start delivering tools to parents to see how we can help them,” says Ferrer.