‘Kiddo Consultants’ help Austin company get child’s perspective

"Kiddo Consultants" offer insight, ideas for branding clients

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sometimes as adults, it’s hard to know what kids are thinking. Now, a local advertising company is trying to channel its inner kid in order to appeal to its “family friendly” clients. Meet the newest addition to Steel Branding: They’re known as “Kiddo Consultants.” Thirty local students between the ages of 7 and 14 are helping the company get a child’s perspective on a product.

“We’ve gotten to brainstorm new ideas, and here, any answer is right,” said Emma Baskin, a fourth-grader at St. Theresa’s Catholic School.

The ad company says the idea to bring in the kiddos was born out of random conversation.

“My daughter and one of my coworker’s sons overheard us talking about a chicken nugget launch, and they just heard chicken launch. The boy literally thought we were going to launch chickens, and we laughed,” said Kirsten Cutshall, president of Steel Branding. “And then we thought, ‘That’s a great way to launch chicken nuggets.’ It turned into a great PR campaign.”

Now, the kids sample and review products, such as the hummus at The Mediterranean Chef. But it’s not just about the taste-testing; the group will work on the campaign to help design the store’s packaging.

“We learned that packaging needs to be able to pop, in order to sell good,” Baskin said.

In March 2014, Steel’s Kiddo Consultants provided key product insights and creation of valuable assets for ZORBZ self-sealing water balloons– including an informative how-to video for consumers and sales video that helped secure additional business with major retailers. Evaluations from the event also inspired a line of accessories that will be introduced later this year. In September, the kiddos attended a marketing seminar and learned about developing print ads. The kids were provided with a creative brief from various clients, and they created print ads based on the information they gathered. They worked in teams and came up with headlines, key graphics, body copy and call-to-actions. Once the ads were completed, they presented their work to the group.

“It’s an extremely fun experience,” Baskin said.

Her older brother, Hunter agrees.

“I like the hands-on learning experience because I’m a visual learner, and this is probably the best way to learn,” he said. “And it’s fun, too.”

You can find out more information about the Kiddo Consultant Program online.

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