As the specialist creative agency prepares to appear at the Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit later this month, Toy World speaks to strategy director Sian Rider.
Sian Rider, strategy director at KidsKnowBest, is participating in a panel called ‘Following the Money: How The New Age of Consumers Spends’ alongside Allana Holmes of Hunter Price at the next European edition of Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit. The event takes place 21st June at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Ahead of B&LIS, she spoke to Toy World about how trends shape the licensing industry and how the agency’s expertise can help brands.
Tell us who you are and how your business fits into the licensing ecosystem?
I’m a strategy director: I find creative solutions for my clients fuelled by insight. Everything we do at KidsKnowBest is driven by Nougat, our very own data and insights engine. We are able to understand our audience’s wants and needs because we listen to kids and their parents. We have tools that are always on, and the team and I are speaking with future consumers all the time. We believe that this is what drives the success of products and brands – by actually listening to the audience or consumer.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for the licensing industry right now?
The speed at which trends emerge, peak and disappear. You can’t afford to fail, so how do you monetise that? We’ve developed a tool called Guava which looks at historical trends to see when they are recycled and how long that trend will last using modelling. Some partners are acquiring licences three years in advance, but movies aren’t guaranteed successes anymore. Instead, we’re now focusing on themes or play patterns. We can look back historically and see where trends will land in the future. At KidsKnowBest, we always stay ahead of the curve by having an ear to the ground on the issues, media and brands that are engaging our audiences. For example, we were running campaigns on TikTok back in 2019 because our audiences told us that’s where they were. We strive to find spaces in which brands can have an impact where others aren’t.
What are the biggest trends you’re seeing in your business sector that impact brands and retailers?
- Community/family (Covid accelerated)
- Meaningful engagement, e.g: consumers are now starting to expect diversity, sustainability, etc.
As the impact of digital technology on children’s lives continues to grow, there are mounting calls for businesses that engage with and impact upon children to enable meaningful child participation in the design of their operations. Engaging children in how you make decisions and in how you design your digital products and services can, if done responsibly, create substantial value. Lego, KidsKnowBest and other partners have come together to produce a report as a practical tool intended for businesses that are embarking on a journey towards meaningful child participation and experiencing the challenges that come with it. It brings together 16 expert voices from across sectors to reflect on the following questions. What is meaningful child participation? Why is it important for children and businesses in relation to the digital environment? What are the key challenges to achieving this? And how can businesses overcome these?
Why are you looking forward to speaking at B&LIS?
Innovation is a word we live and breathe at KidsKnowBest. Being at the Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit is an opportunity for us to share our proprietary insights and hear from our partners and friends in the industry.
What will delegates take away from your session?
The importance of listening. When you allow consumers to just talk, and actually listen to them, that’s where you find real value.