More and more fans want to get involved with brands and characters, with some 41% wanting to get creative, play and have fun with their favourites. 

That’s one of the key findings from new research from family marketing and strategy agency Kids Industries (KI) looking into the world of fandom.

The research, carried out across the US, UK, India and South Korea, showed that fans are moving from passive to active consumption, with more than 20% wanting to create fan art, 19% wanting to engage with communities and almost one in five wanting to help shape and influence where their favourite brands go next. 

Almost 40% of children are immersing themselves autonomously in fandoms, while a third were interested in their faves because of family influence, and online and word-of-mouth from friends was also important. Family recommendations are even more important in the US. Interestingly, in the UK more than 80% of children want to engage with as many different strands of the brand as possible, taking in collectibles, games, videos and more. 

“The issue, however, is the overflowing landscape of content. Young people are bombarded with choices, making it harder than ever for brands to capture their attention and hearts”

Jelena Stosic, Strategy Director KI

Jelena Stosic, Strategy Director at KI, said: “Our latest study paints a clear picture – the number of children considering themselves a fan of something, is increasing. 76% of children worldwide (rising to 90% in India) now consider themselves fans of something, highlighting the immense potential for brands to harness this passion. Compare that to our Global Study figures a year ago (though aged 6-13 rather than 6-14 in this study) and we can see there’s been a 13% increase. 

“The issue, however, is the overflowing landscape of content. Young people are bombarded with choices, making it harder than ever for brands to capture their attention and hearts. 

“While children have access to more content than ever before (with the study finding 61% of parents even praising its quality), 70% also struggle with information overload, making it crucial for brands to stand out. Furthermore, 43% of parents say that their child finds it hard to focus and 34% went on to say that their child almost never watches a full episode from start to finish. So, what can brands do to cut through the noise? The answer lies in creating genuine human connections, being more open to co-creations and fan influence and generating immersive and social experiences. After all, our study found that 98% of children’s fandoms involve people, often seen as cool, happy, friendly, inspiring and brave.”

Stosic concluded: “The attention scarcity we experience today is changing the way fandoms are built. To build and harness the strongest fandoms, brands need to focus on key opportunities that give higher emotions, attention and, therefore, build memories, too: being more personal, more open, more immersive and social. Fandom unites across generations, and by understanding the core emotional drivers, brands can unlock powerful opportunities to connect with young audiences in meaningful ways. Developing fans doesn’t come without its challenges – it’s a complex topic – but together with our service – The Fandom Model – and accompanying insights, we can help brands to activate a number of levers and better engage their audiences.”

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