Kids can be fickle, but it turns out they may actually start developing brand loyalty at a very young age.
Earlier this month, a new study found that kids are capable of recognizing brands even before they learn how to read. ABC News reports that a group of preschool children in Australia were shown logos for companies like McDonald’s (Stock Quote: MCD), Toyota (Stock Quote: TM) and Disney (Stock Quote: DIS), and many kids were able to match up the logo with the company’s products.
It may seem surprising that kids develop brand recognition at such a young age, but researchers believe it comes down to two main factors: how present the company is in kids’ daily lives, and perhaps more importantly, whether their product is associated with good experiences.
"My feeling is that a lot of this has to do with positive emotions -- children recognize things that are self-serving and enjoyable," one of the researchers told ABC. That’s why nearly all the children were able to recognize McDonald’s but none recognized the Kleenex logo. (Of course, using this logic, I wonder if children will still recognize Toyota in a few years, given all the drama now associated with it.)
The upside of the study, as Slate points out, is the indication that kids are getting smarter, since they are able to make complex connections at a young age. Yet, this study also confirms something that parents have long been afraid of: kids are very susceptible to ads. According to Slate, children showed a willingness in this study to “make judgments about products and people based on associations with those brands.” In other words, brand marketing has become so successful that it has served to inform kids’ decisions about what they want to buy and with whom they want to be friends.
How exactly did this happen?