Kids Say The Most Marketable Things

By Taylor Smithfield

Mossy Oak’s “Family Tree” webseries features families enjoying outdoor traditions together. This marketing
campaign aims to reach adults and their children to promote the brand and secure brand-loyal customers. Your
store could take a unique spin on this to attract a vibrant following.

“Dad, this has been the best day of my life!” Chris Paradise recalls his son Michael’s excitement the day he took his first turkey. “All I can remember is looking over and everything he’d worked on, he was locked and loaded, down on the gun, ready to go,” Paradise describes. “I called again, the turkey gobbled. He stepped out about 25 yards away and all I remember hearing my son say — it’s so vividly etched in my mind — is, ‘Dad, I got him!’” He says Michael always describes every hunt as the best day of his life.

Paradise, SVP and chief sales officer of Mossy Oak, along with his children, Michael and Ava, are featured in Mossy Oak’s webseries on YouTube, “Family Tree,” which tells stories of families enjoying outdoor traditions together. Clad in Mossy Oak camo, the family is shown spending an afternoon in the woods; both children take their own turkeys, Ava her very first.

“Hunting with my dad has always been a fun thing,” Michael explains with maturity beyond his years. “He has taught me about nature, about hunting, and to get to hear and see about what he does, and he passes it down to me, that will be something I want to keep for my life and pass down someday to my kids so it continues. Hunting is something I do with my best friend, Dad, and it’s a very cool thing to do.”

“Family Tree” has released several episodes, available on Mossy Oak’s YouTube channel and website. Each featured family has a different story to tell, but they all bond over their love for each other and the outdoors. Not only is “Family Tree” heartwarming to watch, it’s also an effective marketing campaign.

Kids Love Sharing Their Opinions

Unfortunately, many kids today spend the majority of their time indoors and have never been introduced to the importance of firearm safety, conservation and outdoor ethics. But children and families can be excellent promoters of hunting and the shooting sports. They should also be one of your store’s target audiences. Influence the parent and you’ll reach the kid. Reach the kid and you’ll reach their kids one day.

There are a variety of ways to reach this target audience; one of the best is to create a social media campaign. You could create a webseries similar to Mossy Oak’s, but there are other ways to market to youth and their parents. Put the word out on social media by asking for photos, videos and testimonials. “What do your kids love about hunting?” You might be surprised at the response. Also, kids love to share their opinions. (As many of you know all too well!)

Consumer-Curated Content

While you should make this request on all of your social platforms, Instagram is going to be an ideal tool for this purpose. It’s by far the best platform for interacting with fans and consumers. We’ve previously discussed the power of Instagram for your business (“Under The Brand Influence,” July 2017), and the power of peer-to-peer influence. Would it surprise you to hear consumers often trust each other’s opinions about a company or product, like a personal tweet or Instagram post, over social content created by the company itself? It’s why Mossy Oak’s “Family Tree” is more effective than a commercial. Even though it’s content created by the brand, it features real families, not actors.

A recent study from influencer marketing platform gen.video and shopper marketing agency Geometry Global discovered 77 percent of social media users trust information fellow consumers provide on social media. The vast majority of these opinions come from total strangers; as a whole, we’ve become more skeptical of authority. Though it may be disheartening to acknowledge your brand’s own reach has become somewhat limited in the age of advertising over-saturation, there are ways to expand your reach or metaphorically grow an extra arm entirely. Never underestimate the power of consumer-curated content.

#Hashtags And Slogans

If you decide to launch a campaign asking for photos and testimonials, you’ll need to select a campaign name or slogan. You may be familiar with Mossy Oak’s hashtag “#itsanobsession.” They wisely slap it on all their social posts. This hashtag allows them to assemble their content under one catchy slogan and social category. If you plug the hashtag #itsanobsession into the search bar on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, you’ll connect with content Mossy Oak and their followers have posted.

Effective social campaigns rely on hashtags to connect consumers. For example, Coca-Cola’s popular #shareacoke tag has over half a million entries on Instagram alone. There are photos of Coke cans in different languages and friends sharing an ice-cold bottle. Fans participate because it makes them feel connected, a part of something. Many brands will repost or retweet content from fans, which then encourages more involvement, because who wouldn’t want to be featured by Coca-Cola? It’s free marketing content served up on a platter. Coca-Cola didn’t have to hire a photographer or splurge on a pricey shoot. They don’t need models or actors when they have real people. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers sent you content for your marketing?

Perhaps you already utilize hashtags in your social media. Maybe your hashtag is simply the name of your gun store or your slogan. A hashtag is simply a tool for connecting people, but it’s only as good as the marketing strategy behind it. When it comes to campaigns directed at kids and their parents, it’s best to come up with a catchy phrase that connects with this audience. It can be playful, quirky, creative, impactful or direct. It depends on what emotional aspect you’d like to focus on. Traditions, making memories, education, securing hunting’s future, or simply having fun are all great angles to explore when crafting this campaign.

Candid moments like this one of Ava Paradise celebrating her first turkey are more relatable than staged photos.
Ask customers to share family moments, or find stock images online for use throughout your campaign. Don’t forget
your campaign hashtag!

Messaging And Incentives

Make your request simple but engaging: “We want to know what your family loves about hunting!” or “Kids, why do you go hunting?” Even though you’re asking for parents to share photos and videos of themselves hunting with their kids, it’s smart to tailor your message to kids. It makes them feel special and important. Plus, they’re the future of your business, right? (As with all online youth interaction, remember to advocate parental consent and supervision.)

Here’s where you’ll need to decide about incentives. While brands like Coca-Cola have a massive following and don’t necessarily need to incentivize their fans, small businesses will likely benefit by sweetening the pot. “Be entered into our giveaway!” “Become the next face of our campaign!” — there are a variety of ways you can motivate customers. Should you choose to turn your efforts into a search for the next face of your youth campaign, you may get even more entries. It all depends on what you’re comfortable offering. Your campaign can either be year-round or annual. Experiment with different strategies.

Visual Assets

Once you’ve selected the name of your campaign, its messaging, hashtag and incentives, it’s time to create some visual assets to use in the launch. Maybe you work with an ad agency or exclusively with freelancers. Whatever your preference, establish relationships with qualified graphic designers and marketers. If you absolutely can’t do it, resources like Canva.com provide foolproof, editable templates for social images, posters, flyers, etc.

Visuals should always match your message. You’re asking customers to submit candid moments with their families, so your visual should be something like a photo of a kid hunting with a parent. You can purchase stock images on websites like iStockPhoto.com or Shutterstock.com. Pexels.com, StockSnap.io and FreeStocks.org represent free stock image options. (A word about stock photos: it’s best to avoid selecting cheesy, posed shots. You want genuine, candid moments to partner with this campaign.)

Nurturing Your Campaign

Next, determine how to get the word out. Introduce the campaign on your social media, across all platforms. It’s the fastest way to reach customers, plus it’s the same medium you’re asking them to participate on. Create a graphic introducing the campaign and post it everywhere. Tweet it, post it to Facebook, make a short video or an Instagram story. Be as creative as you want. It would also be wise to send an email to your subscribers, post to your website and blog or create in-store signage. You should do this all in one coordinated effort. (This may seem obvious but I’ve worked with companies who unwisely decide to launch “soft” only to wonder later why their campaign flopped.)

Don’t forget to promote the campaign regularly once you launch. They need to be nurtured. In order to have a healthy campaign, designate someone to run it. This means replying to comments, tracking entries, reposting the best entries and posting regularly. (Don’t simply repost your same assets over and over, but create a variety.) If you’re excited about the campaign, your customers will be, too, especially if they’re kids!

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