5 things kids in the summer teach us about building brands

girl doing back flip into water

Kids on summer break are like a force of nature unleashed—a whirlwind of energy and imagination. They’re ready to leap off the high dive. They see adventure around every corner. Their appetites for fun can serve as an inspiration for every brand.


There's a kid in all of us. We might just need a reminder of how fearless (and fun) we used to be.

Here are 5 lessons to learn—and adopt—before school starts again.

1. Stories stick

Kids latch onto things they love with an infectious enthusiasm. A brand that ignites a child’s passion—whether through storytelling, characters or a connection to their interests—becomes more than just a product. It becomes part of their identity. (Transformers, anyone?)

Brands: Think about how you can tap into that same emotional connection with your target audiences. Tell stories. Sprinkle stardust. Make some magic.

2. Play ignites

Summer is all about fun and exploration. Kids remind us that the best brands don't just sell products, they create experiences. And those experiences bring feelings, emotions and positive connections.

Brands: Can you gamify your marketing for both customers and employees? Brainstorm. Spend some time thinking about how to create interactive experiences that make every brand touchpoint engaging and memorable.

3. Get real

Kids love make-believe, but they can spot a poser a mile away. Kids—who haven’t yet grown filters—will unabashedly call it out.Smiling girl witwh splotches of colorful paint on her hair, face and clothing.Kids love to break some rules and get messy.

Brands: You must be real and approachable. Be clear about your values and mission across all areas of your organization. Conduct a communications audit. Dust off and evaluate your mission statement. Ensure your marketing—and your actions—reflect the real thing.

4. Climb higher

The view from the top of the jungle gym or a 50-year-old oak tree can be awe-inspiring. Kids love to experience the sights and sounds from what feels like the top of the world. They stare at clouds. They drop water balloons.

Brands: Climb higher and change your viewpoint. Get above the day-to-day TO DOs to see opportunities you might have missed—and to avoid potential pitfalls down the road. How about a team meeting in a treehouse or in a top-floor meeting room? Change your perspective and you might just change your market position.

5. Experiment

Kids are fearless when it comes to trying new things and learning to push their limits. They aren't afraid to get messy or make mistakes. In fact, they seem to revel in a little chaos.

Brands: Don't be afraid to take calculated risks and push your innovation strategy further—even if it gets a little messy. Create a culture that allows for risks and rewards the successes. This is where learning happens and innovation flourishes. Drop those limiting beliefs. You may find that you can do more than you thought.

Watch and learn.

Keep your eyes open. Next time you see kids immersing themselves in every magical minute of their summer break, take a moment to observe. You might just discover the next big idea for your brand.

For more best practices on brand strategies, read our article How to Avoid a Zombie Brand-pocalypse. If you need help with innovation or a fresh marketing strategy, call Martha direct at 785.969.6203 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photo credits from Unsplash: Girl doing a back flip—Tim Mossholder • Girl with paint on her face—Deva Darshan.



















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