Airports are one of my recurrent destinations and I consider them an interesting location from a sociologic perspective. You see people from different walks of life and, if you are an attentive observer, their looks, attitude and behaviour speak volumes about them.
When I’m at the airport, after browsing around some shops, I usually sit down and wait for my flight, which is often delayed! I read a book, check emails and social media updates on my smartphone, and finally I allow myself some time to look around and think. Life is frantic and we’re so overwhelmed by our daily to-do lists that sometimes we don’t really have the opportunity to let our brains wander, thinking about many things.
While I think and glance at people, I’ve realised that among occasional travellers, frequent flyers and tourists, my favourite category to dwell on is probably kids. Actually, I’m not a fan of their crying and tantrums, and sometimes their pestering attitude grates on my nerves too, but on the other hand they are so funny, fascinating and, what’s more, choosy in their range of interests.
Kids look at and touch what they like, say what they think, and are naturally attracted, if not addicted, to novelty and creativity. They use their senses to interact with society and they don’t have any mental restrictions. I’ve spent some time observing them and they love every type of digital medium, be that an advert running on a screen, a videogame, a smartphone or a tablet. Where touch and interaction is involved, there’s a happy child to be found. Equally, kids love all things visual, beautiful drawings and any special effect in print. Using both hands and eyes, they explore every colourful, varnished, glossy or embossed effect on a book or paper based product. Unusual packaging can catch their attention too.
I’ve come to the conclusion that kids can be a valuable reference point to understand the success of any sort of tool, even a business related one. More specifically, they can be a reliable test of what’s powerful in the media landscape. Digital media is on top of the list for its immediate accessibility and engagement, while excellent print that surprises and captures the consumer with unique tactile and optical effects, as well as with intriguing shapes like a packaging application, still has its place.
All of us marketers, communication specialists, print manufacturers and print service providers should try sometimes not only to observe kids, but also to look at the world with a child’s eyes. It would probably be a fun and educational experience, which could help us to have a more sound and open view on our marketing ideas and business objectives.