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Galvanised by media, informed by technology and made wise by increasingly more mature parents, children today are empowered, opinionated and have a stronger sense of independence at an earlier age than ever before. So they expect more in turn.

The latest Mintel consumer report looking into children’s behavioural trends concludes that children are growing older faster, and at a younger age. Welcome to the so-called era of the ‘empowered kid’. Collectively they are spirited, autonomous, sophisticated, and seek instant gratification. They reject the ‘naive’ in favour of interactive items, cheeky games, engaging products and clever media more reflective of the adult world.

Brands marketing to this youthful, smart, curious demographic can no longer talk down to them. Instead they should encourage play with a subtle educational angle and multisensory visual mechanics that emulate adult experiences while preserving the magic of childhood.

Lunchbox-ready products like GoGo Squeeze and Ella’s Kitchen pouches combine playful vibrant graphics with tactility, appealing to a child’s natural fascination with touch.

Kiddifying adult experiences - making tea, carrying a handbag - is also a mechanic for capturing the imagination of today’s empowered child. Cathedral City’s Chedds cleverly empowers youth to make their own snacks up in a very adult-like manner. Likewise, Dairylea Lunchables.

In snacking, Bear has a stripped back yet colourful brand identity. It has avoided a sense of artificiality and synthetic nastiness often associated with bright colours by using a simple yet iconic bear cut-out design and visual cues of natural flavour and goodness. The overall effect has both adult and child appeal.

For brands striving to break into the market and attract smart, excitable and easily bored kids, building a product and brand identity that encourages self-expression, simulates grown-up experiences and satisfies their innate curiosity of the world around them will go a long way towards driving loyalty and love for a brand in both modern child and parent.

Ed Silk is strategy director at Bulletproof