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In Orson Scott Card’s almost-a-classic science fiction novel, Ender’s Game, the famed writer spins a futuristic tale of a world threatened by aliens scarier than Charlie Sheen on a three-day bender. In fact, they’re so daunting that the people of Earth create a Battle School to train children in military strategy and combat.
Why children you ask?
Well, the basic thought process was that defeating the aliens would require such focus and human sacrifice that children who could not fully comprehend the consequences (i.e. – massive human casualties) would be best suited to call the shots. After much training, the kids saved the day and prevented Earth from receiving an eternal pink slip.
Crazy, right? Outlandish? Impossible!?
OR, is the story eerily reminiscent of the power kids are developing today, in the real world, over brand managers, CMO’s and well, me, as a marketing communications professional?
I would argue…absofreakinlutely.
Not buying it? Watch this and then jump back.
For years, kids had the power to influence their parents’ purchase decisions from the bully pulpit of the shopping cart. And why shouldn’t they – it’s good business for both parties. Jr. gets his Coco Puffs and Mom gets her kid to shut the hell up for the low, low price of $3.99. But now, Jr. doesn’t even need Mom to affect the bottom line of General Mills…or Nintendo…or insert any brand name that might possibly market to kids. All they need is a login and a password.
And apparently, those aren’t hard to come by.
Now I’m not saying that brands should stop the presses to bow down to every pimply faced kid with a laptop or smart phone. But, I am saying they better at least acknowledge they’re there. Because they’re watching and judging and their allowance is growing just a little every day.
So, let’s not shy away from Facebook games, #WorldofWarCraft or youngins’ ability to make super sweet YouTube videos that I may or may not watch daily. Let’s embrace them and say what’s up because I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.