You know industry demand is strong when products evolve on what seems like a constant basis. Just when you thought you had everything you need for your growing family, something “better’’ comes along and makes you question why you bought your first “OMG I need this!” item in the first place. From feeding supplies to loungers and travel gear, there’s certainly no shortage of options! As if that stroller’s three fewer pounds and smaller fold really makes a difference (JK! We get it).
With experts expecting the market for baby products to reach $16.78 billion by 2025, it’s no secret the industry will continue to see significant growth for years to come. What comes hand-in-hand with such a high growth projection are the vast opportunities for new and emerging brands and businesses; however, launching a new brand (or simply being a smaller player) in an already cluttered industry can feel pretty risky. So, how can you ensure your item becomes a “Mommy Must-Have,” when there are so many competitive products already on shelves?
The good news: PR can help, when done right. The key is to hit the sweet spot with your target audience—whether it’s by enlisting the help of influencers and tapping the nontraditional world of YouTube for exposure, or by checking off the tried-and-true PR to-dos, like targeted media pitching and product desksides—to help your brand get the attention it deserves.
Bring in the Influencers!
The way parents (and their children) are digesting information has changed dramatically in the last few years. Physical newspapers and magazines still have their place, but we’re consuming media digitally now more than ever. That means traditional media outlets that have moved tons of content online, Google searches that help us navigate product news and reviews—and most recently, online influencers who are having a major impact on our shopping patterns. Even the New York Times recently gave the power of influencers a giant nod! But don’t worry, it’s not all about celebrity influencers who are commanding six-figure price tags for a single post…you don’t have to partner with Khloe Kardashian or Chrissy Teigen to make your mark. The fact is, many moms, dads, kids, even whole families are now on Facebook and Instagram sharing their insights, top product picks, and more—and are open, available, and eager to partner with your brand (you can read more about this in this past blog post), some on an earned basis, some paid. We’ve had great success with influencers spanning GingerCasa for Jonas Paul Eyewear to Carrie Berk and even Jennifer Love Hewitt for WowWee’s Lucky Fortune!
Map a Road to Success Aligned with Peaks & Valleys in the PR Life of Baby Brands
While the PR life of baby brands may be a whole new world to you, a responsible PR partner will be able to take the wheel and help you navigate it. It may be Christmas in July or the surprisingly long holiday season for the short lead media that runs September through December. Or, maybe you can take advantage of the early summer months, which is a popular time of year for baby showers. We haven’t even gotten into all the relevant trade shows including ABC Kids Expo and New York Toy Fair that you can use to your advantage throughout the year—whether you have a physical presence at them or not, they offer great opportunities to get in front of the media because you know it’s when they’ll be dedicating time and energy to your industry. Take Buzz Bee Toys, for example, who hosts an annual, exclusive offsite Toy Fair Preview Breakfast for media on their way to the show. It’s a win-win for all—Buzz Bee Toys gets one-on-one time with relevant media, and the media gets free breakfast on their way to an exhausting, day-long trade show!
Tap the Nontraditional World of YouTube for Exposure
Continuing with the digital trend, YouTube has also become a great medium for product reviews within the baby and kids space. Rather than staring at a glorified, likely photoshopped still image, viewers can watch detailed reviews and see your product live in action, often in a variety of relatable scenarios. Building an effective YouTube campaign takes diligence, as you’ll have to do the research to identify the channels are best suited to your target audience, buffer in the time it takes for outreach (and of course, their reply—we’re always at their mercy here), and allow them the time to film a beautifully produced video. For best results, consider sending more than just your product—an engaging, on-brand creative kit is more likely to deliver results, especially when you’re hoping for a free post! In the toy world, channels like BubblePOPKids, SquirrelStampede, Aubri’s World, and Scattered Adventures love the kits we’ve sent them from client WowWee; we have found it really makes a difference when it comes to producing successful engagement.
Not in a Major Retailer? No Problem! Make Your Availability Appealing to Conscious Shoppers
While it may seem like a major concern, you don’t actually have to be in the Targets and Walmarts of the world to sell a successful brand. Now more than ever, millennial shoppers are spending more when they shop small. Lucky for you, a lot of these millennial shoppers are now parents, too! Brands like Colugo and Mockingbird take pride in their direct-to-consumer [DTC] business model as it allows them to “help simplify the purchasing process for parents” and “bakes in the idea of a more modern, more relatable, more friendly brand.” We also recently saw a few parent groups and experts like our favorite baby guru, Jamie Grayson, boycott Amazon Prime Day to “support the strike of Amazon employees who deserve better working conditions.” Rather, parents were encouraged to shop smaller specialty shops who may be offering “prime” deals of their own! This is just one example, but the post’s growing thread of comments is proof that shoppers do value DTC brands.
Don’t Forget the ABC’s of Effective PR
Remember those responsible PR partners we talked about earlier? They will ensure you’re checking off all the tried-and-true PR to-dos including targeted pitching, product desksides, mailers and more, to get your product in the eyes (or hands!) of appropriate media. Notice how we specifically mentioned “targeted pitching” here? It’s because impactful outreach takes so much more than an email blast. Take the time to evaluate your competitive landscape to find reporters who will truly appreciate hearing from you and tailor your outreach accordingly. Maybe it’s a follow up to a recent story they wrote, or a brief explanation as to why you think they should take interest in your brand. They’ll note the effort and likely reciprocate it. Also, understand that each reporter can get hundreds of emails per day and may not be able to respond as quickly as we’d all like. If there is a reporter you feel is absolutely perfect for your brand or product, consider sending them a personalized mailer with a genuine, handwritten note explaining why you sent it. Fun fact: we once prepared a mailer specific to ‘The Walking Dead’ fans and landed a feature with Mashable! No big deal, right? WRONG—it was epic.
To discuss how our team can make noise for your baby brand, please reach out here: firstname.lastname@example.org.