Market research

Brand Kids Study 2018: Importance of brands for children and families

Brand Kids Study 2018: Importance of brands for children and families
Children at different ages perceive brands and brand images very consciously and consider them as part of their identity and identity formation [...].

The importance of brands for children is still underestimated by brand owners

When investing in brand awareness, brand owners still have their adult clientele in mind. After all, they are the ones who decide for or against buying a brand. Children, on the other hand, are given lower priority in the allocation of brand budgets. Quite wrongly, as our recently presented Brand Children 2018 study shows.

Children at different ages perceive brands and brand images very consciously and consider them part of their identity and identity formation. It is particularly important for children to buy branded articles in the categories of clothing - including shoes in particular - toys and mobile phones. Lego and Playmobil even make it into their own category among younger children (6 - 10 years); Adidas among older children aged 11 - 14.

Children have their own brand worlds that are determined by the categories relevant to them in their developmental phase.

The importance of television as a single medium is clearly declining among children

The efficient allocation of marketing budgets to different target groups also includes the right choice of advertising medium. Here we see something astonishing: while television was still the most important source of brand awareness among children in 2017, the picture is now changing significantly. As soon as children have access to the internet, it rapidly overtakes all other media in terms of importance and is in first place with over 75% of 14-year-old children. Television reached this value in 2017, but only slightly more than 25% in 2018!

One thing is clear: media convergence is causing the individual channels to merge - something that children have already learned as a matter of course.

However, it is also clear that media planning that thinks and plans in terms of individual channels no longer reaches the young generation efficiently. Brand management must therefore always consider the technical and social aspects of media convergence.   

Most children say they know brands from television - but as soon as the children have access to the internet, this value for the internet rapidly evens out.

Friends are the most important influencers

Friends" contribute to getting to know brands at the same level as the internet - at least among older children and young people. Brand socialisation" thus takes place in the personal environment strongly via the reference points "friends" and then, with increasing age, also via social media - as a virtual variant of the circle of friends. 

Older children and young people are in a time of "role experimentation". They face the huge challenge of constructing their own identity and role within society themselves, and this requires an often arduous selection of from numerous possibilities. Identity, however, must always be seen as two-sided: individual identity is also always determined by group identity, so that identity always expresses a reciprocal relationship. 

Brands play a prominent role in socialisation. Through brands, children and young people determine their own identity and feel they belong to a group. Brand managers should take these connections into account when developing a brand strategy and ask themselves what contribution their brand makes to the identity formation of children and young people and through which mechanisms they can increase brand awareness in social groups. Bloggers, vloggers, influencers, youtubers, live communication, Facebook ads are only a few building blocks of a target-oriented marketing strategy.

For young children, parents are still the most important "influencers" and "brand ambassadors", but by the time they start primary school, friends become more important than parents - at 14, celebrities/stars as well as bloggers/youtubers overtake parents.

Who do parents trust when buying food?

In addition to the attitudes towards brands of parents and children, the study analyses in particular awareness, liking and image profiles in the food and banking sectors. 

Buying food is always a matter of trust. But whom do parents trust when it comes to food quality? The leading institution in building trust in the quality of food are test reports (Stiftung Warentest, Ökotest). This is trust in so-called "abstract systems", which is not based on face-to-face interaction, but on reputation. 

According to this, however, trust arises primarily through ties in local communities (craft businesses (bakers, butchers), local suppliers, farmers, friends/acquaintances). 

Trust in the quality of food thus arises in local communities through face-based ties. Brands, on the other hand, have a subordinate importance. Social networks on the internet (= face-independent ties) also do not have the same trust relevance as local, social networks. The learning for regional food producers is therefore to establish trust and bonding with the customer through regionality and local networks and to make regionality and community the essential asset. 

For supra-regional food producers, the learning consists of communicating the terms that are synonymous with local communities - i.e. craftsmanship, personal relationships, community, tradition - and positioning themselves in this way.

Parents trust test reports the most. But then face-to-face interactions dominate in building trust.

High brand awareness in food retailing, but only low brand sympathy and family friendliness

The supported awareness set in food retailing (LEH) consists of a large number of brands. Eight brands in food retail have an awareness of more than 75%; among children, supported brand awareness is naturally not quite as pronounced, yet five brands in food retail achieve more than 50% supported brand awareness among children.  

However, the likeability values of the brands in food retailing do not correspond to those of awareness: only Aldi and Lidl are rated as "very good" by around 30% of parents. All other brands are rated as "very good" by only about 20% of parents. Not surprisingly, families are obviously not considered a relevant target group by food retailers. Only four brands (real, Kaufland, Rewe and Edeka) are grouped around the value of 10% when it comes to the question of the family-friendliness of brands in the FEH. 

The positioning of food retail brands, on the other hand, is mainly based on the price category. A favourable price is certainly a criterion for family-friendliness, but is family-friendliness expressed exclusively through price? Does the food retail sector fully exploit its market potential with families when it positions itself as good value for money? Or does it not position itself too strongly in competition with other food retail brands? A consistent family-friendly positioning would undoubtedly offer potential for further market penetration, yet parents only succeed in attributing a clear characteristic to half of the brands surveyed. They have no clear association with the other brands in food retailing.

The supported awareness set consists of a large number of brands in food retail. 8 brands in food retail have an awareness of > 75.0%. Among children, the supported brand awareness is naturally not quite as pronounced; nevertheless, children also already know the brands in food retail.

The most dominant characteristic of the brands in food retailing is "good value for money". Only Edeka (quality-oriented) and Rewe (modern) are attributed other characteristics - albeit at a low level. Parents were unable to ascribe any clear characteristic to the other brands surveyed.

Untapped market potential also at banks

A similar picture emerges for banks: an awareness set that essentially consists of five brands, a high level of brand awareness (the savings bank is dominant here among parents and children due to its presence in the area), low sympathy values and a diffuse brand image. Even more: the respondents find it difficult to ascribe a clear brand image to the banks. The dominant characteristic response to the question of what parents and children associate with the brand is: "don't know" or "no "indication". It is clear to neither parents nor children what the brands in the banking segment stand for.

Both parents and children find it difficult to attribute a clear brand image to the banks. The dominant attribute expression is "don't know" or "don't specify". It is clear to neither parents nor children what the brands in the banking segment stand for.


At least not for family friendliness. Only four banks (Sparkasse, Volksbank, Sparda Bank and Commerzbank) achieved (low) scores of between 2.5 and 9% among parents in the property dimension "family-friendly". Yet banks are service providers for families per excellence: just think of the specific needs of families in terms of asset accumulation, home financing, insurance, loans and much more. Banks are giving away considerable market potential here!

Banks are not perceived and assessed as family-friendly by parents. Only four banks achieve (low) values among parents in the property dimension "family-friendly" between 2.5% and 9%.

You can order the chart reports of the study with detailed evaluations from us:

  • The general part of the survey as well as the detailed survey on the topic of "food" and "food retailing" at a price of € 1,950 plus VAT.
  • The general part of the survey as well as the detailed survey on the topic "Banks" at a price of € 1,950 plus VAT.
  • The general part of the survey at a price of € 780 plus VAT.

For orders and further information please contact:

André Schulz

+49 (0)40 - 767 94 50 11


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