4 Considerations for Planning a Successful Contest for Kids

Posted by Chris Formosa

In our last post, we shared some contest ideas for kids. Now that you’re taking advantage of summer and planning a contest of your own, it’s important to consider the various aspects of a kid-friendly promotion that will make it a success. When planning something for our youngest audience, it’s essential that we define our noble purpose, target parents and get their consent – all while making it fun as H, E, double hockey sticks!

1) Defining your Noble Purpose

Increasing engagement, exposure and sales is important, but what’s really hinging on your success is the authenticity of your campaign. We’ll need to answer to how the experience will truly benefit your audience and drive affinity among your fans.

Author, Lisa McLeod, outlines in her Forbes article that “the data is clear, organizations with a Noble Purpose (that focus on improving life for their customers) outperform organizations that are focused on hitting financial targets.” You may have already noticed that in the Contest Ideas for Kids post, all of the contests provided some kind of educational or artistic value.

2) Targeting Parents

While many marketers rely on “Pester Power”, nobody cares more for the well-being of their children than parents, which goes back to defining a solid Noble Purpose. In many cases, kids will hear about fun contests from their parents and will then go on to share the fun with their friends. It’s no mistake that parents will only approve-of or recommend promotions they feel will add some kind of value to the family.

The Art Institue shared that “Brand Strategist, Jamie Dunham, suggests that advertisers and marketers follow parenting blogs and establish brand ambassador groups to uncover what messages will resonate with parents.” Jamie Dunham goes to share that “about 73% of moms say that advertisers don’t understand them”. So, take some time to review mommy blogs and (if you’re a parent) tap into your own anecdotal experience.

In addition to your paid and organic media mix, it’s helpful to share the contest with your mommy-brand-ambassadors and mommy-bloggers.

In most countries, states, provinces and territories, it’s required that we obtain signed parental consent before children can participate in our contest. Many of our clients have taken a few routes to achieve this, but the most effective way is to link to a Docusign document that parents can easily fill-out, sign and send back digitally. Referencing their email address or name on the form to the email address or name on the entry will make this process more seamless than struggling with scanners, paper and mail. (Strutta Tip: using Strutta’s entry moderation queue will help manage your parental consent workflow).

4) Making it fun!

This one seems obvious, but I’ve seen my fair share of educational contests that could be a little less work and lot more fun. It’s common that marketers come in with the feeling that their fans should “earn” or “work for” their prize. While this is often a valid sentiment (depending on the value of the prize), it’s still important to add fun components that kids will want to participate in, even if there were no prizes.

A short-film contest is probably more fun than an essay contest, so adding voting rounds, points for sharing and leaderboards will help. I’d love to give more examples of how you can make your contest more fun, but we need to ensure that these components align with your brand. Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about associating your brand with positive experiences that create lasting memories.

Are you planning a fun contest for kids? Share your promotion ideas in the comments below.