KidsKnowBest’s Joel Silverman on creativity, grabbing attention and his dream client

We caught up with Joel Silverman, CEO and Co-Founder of KidsKnowBest, to find out more about how the firm is working with brands to help them understand, create and reach their target audience.

‘Driven by insights. Powered by youth.’ That’s the tagline for KidsKnowBest, a full-service creative agency that looks to deliver effective and results-led brand solutions, always with kids’ voices at the forefront.

We caught up with Joel Silverman, CEO and Co-Founder of KidsKnowBest, to find out more about how the firm is working with brands to help them understand, create and reach their ideal audience.

Hi Joel! To kick us off, for anyone new to KidsKnowBest, what do they need to know?
KidsKnowBest is the fastest growing creative agency in the UK. Everything about us is informed by data. We have been working with the largest toy and media companies in the world over the past four years and we’ve helped them build stronger brands by understanding an audience that we believe is vastly underserved; kids.

We put kids at the heart of everything we do. There is no point in creating something for an audience with the presumption it will just work. Speak to the kids, engage with them, understand them but above all, explain to them how much value they bring to the world.

Absolutely; makes a lot of sense. How did you start the company, and were brands always set to be a big part of the business?
The company actually started out four years ago to become a publisher – the original idea was to build ‘TripAdvisor For Kids’. Rob, our co-founder, actually can take full credit for the idea – thank you Rob!

We felt there was a distinct lack of reviews for kids’ products, by kids. Everything was written by a 40-year-old man or woman with a presumption of what kids would like or dislike. We wanted to change that.

The model didn’t work as 2016 was too late to join the publishing party, but we learnt, pivoted and grew. We always felt engaging with brands would be a huge part of our business. To be honest, until 2016/17 I had no clue what a licence was. I am now fascinated and can see what a huge role they play in our eco-system.

How does KidsKnowBest engage with brand owners? What should they be reaching out to work with you on?
We currently work with brands in a range of ways, right from early-stage research. We know that brands spend a lot of time in R&D and nothing is more important than creating the right IP or product. We like to minimise the risk there and make sure they’re onto a winner, so we offer quant and qual, through our brilliant research team.

Once we have constructed the research – let’s say the kids think it is going to be the biggest hit in the world – the next stage is to work full service, from creative strategy all the way through to distribution on digital. We like to take full responsibility for the great and good.

There is no point in creating a beautiful ad, if we don’t have the opportunity to amplify it to the target audience and help drive sales. It is so important that we become partners on that journey. That being said, we can work on just one piece of the journey – we just want to make a difference and help brands understand, create and reach their audience and goals.

In terms of the brands you work with, and are looking to collaborate with, are you focused on character-based brands, or should the food, car, heritage sectors be reaching out to?
Good question! At the moment it is character led brands. My actual dream client would be Unilever – I would love to help them launch a new product from research right through to amplification.

I like to think that every industry needs to understand the future consumer, and we can help there. If you use travel for instance, why wouldn’t the travel world want to understand what would excite a child about going to their resort? We believe we can help everyone that wants to understand this unique and special age.

We’re all about creative design here at Brands Untapped; why do you think creativity and great design should be at the heart of brand extensions and licensed product?
Creativity helps stand out from the crowd. In a fast-moving social world, we know that everything should be thumb-stopping. How can you grab attention without a brilliant creative and a brilliant partnership? There is no point in sticking a brilliant IP on a product for the sake of it… A consumer has to buy into the reasoning behind it and the reasons they tie in together.

On that, is there a recent licensed launch that you think is particularly smart?
I think in our space, I can’t help but admire Pokémon. I always look at their collabs and I think they are brilliant. It’s the same with LEGO and Adidas.

HYPE has just launched a collection with Sesame Street for both adults and kids, which is really exciting and I’ll definitely be buying!

HYPE, Sesame Street
In fashion, how can you not admire what Gucci have done? Them and NorthFace are pretty cool. Being a massive watch geek, Bamford used to do a collab with Rolex that was beautiful!

Finally, how do you stay creative?
I used to be a hairdresser, so I actually stay creative by still cutting and styling hair when I can. It’s like a rush and the creative juices get flowing. Obviously, I am always inspired by others’ work. I like to read and watch anything and everything I can in the ad world.

Brilliant! Thanks for this Joel – always a pleasure to catch up!

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