It’s Child’s Play
Throughout history, we have called upon them for the simplest of tasks. To clean their room, wash the dishes, do their homework, and to stop stuffing their little siblings in the dryer. But what most of us have ignored, or at least not taken advantage of, is the incredible expanse of creativity possessed by every single child.
The first people who started noticing this were also the first people who started thinking of ways to use it to their advantage. But before you start imagining labor lines of children with some big tentacle-like sponge attached to their heads, sucking out all of their creativity, let me clarify. What these innovative thinkers and brand strategists alike used kids for were think tanks and discussion panels. In which they would ask kids certain questions and ask them to respond to different scenarios.
The researchers would then apply their findings to whatever topic they were currently investigating. Whether it’s what Kraft would shape their next mac n’ cheese like or the next color in a line of plush toys. But it wasn’t just limited to children’s products. Kids have even been incorporated in studies concerning how a company wants to structure their office space, and what colors to paint their walls.
There’s no doubt that a child’s psyche and their creative capabilities can far outweigh a grown adult. And there’s no doubt that utilizing their perspectives in branding and advertising agency scenarios can be extremely beneficial. But the reality is, child focus groups are not always ideal. Who wants to babysit a bunch of kids like an overwhelmed elementary school teacher?
Still, juvenile perspectives are extremely valuable. So how do we capture this essence and use it to our advantage, without having thirteen 8-year-olds running around the office?
The only alternative to child focus groups and think tanks is to tap into your own juvenescent brain. From exercises and animated dialogue to surrounding yourself with some fun (and slightly immature) people, there are tons of ways brand strategists and advertising consultants can harness their prepubescent thought processes.
Without going into the psychology of it, we’ve come to the conclusion that children are more creative thinkers because they are more liberal thinkers. They exercise free thought, and their ideation is unbounded by societal restrictions and guidelines that come into realization later in life. This free thought capability is what every content strategist, art director, and branding consultant strives for
When you’re coming up with a strategy or new message for a developing brand, it’s important that you isolate your thoughts. To forget some things you’ve learned, and remember others, in order to form an organic perception that will aid you in constructing a living breathing brand. Obviously, this is an incredibly difficult task.
Which brings us back to the idea of tapping into your adolescent thought processing capabilities. For some people, this is an excruciating exercise that has to be forced on and off. But for other people, like Rock Candy Media CEO Annie Jones, this youthful exuberance comes naturally.
For Annie, this creative thought process is something she’s had her whole life, and as a result, she doesn’t have to worry about turning it on or off. Because it is ALWAYS on.
Earlier on in the passage, we mentioned that spending time with fun and slightly immature people can help spawn youthful creativity. And although she’s grown her digital advertising agency into a blossoming and matured organization, if you were to look at an archive of her last 5 jokes, you’d think you were talking to a 12-year-old in gym class.
From d*ck jokes to potty talk, Annie is a fully grown child. And it’s part of the reason why she is such a sought after branding consultant in the Austin area. She is able to isolate her thoughts and take refreshed perspectives when building a new brand or ideating strategy. And there’s no denying that her employees feed off this energy.
When Annie comes barreling into the office slinging F-bombs and far, far, far more “colorful and animated” dialogue, it offers a liberating sensation to everyone around her. When the boss starts talking like that, it makes it easier for everyone else to talk like that, and more importantly, think like that. To forget what’s polite or considered “appropriate” creates an environment where thought roams freely.
It’s characteristics like these that have shaped Annie to her employees. So much so that it becomes difficult to imagine Annie as anything else besides her humorous, punchy self. When we are reminded that Annie is a mother, it is quite baffling. The reason being is because she so rarely acts like the straight edge, rule-abiding adult that parents often emanate.
It’s an energy we don’t ever want to lose, and an energy we believe will push us to the next echelon of digital advertising. Interested in seeing what our juvenile minds have come up with already? Take a look and take a trip back in time.