From Brands to "Brandnies": How Brands are Stepping Up to Support Parents and Children


Author: Dylan Foster, Marketing Manager

Schools are closed, vacations are cancelled, and parents are quickly trying to adapt and adjust to working from kid-crowded home workspaces while catering to their children’s need for education and entertainment. With an estimated 1.4 billion kids now at home due to school shutdowns, brands are stepping in to help families by providing child-friendly edutainment. And that’s exactly what parents want. 85% of consumers want brands to use their power to educate, and 31% say they appreciate brands that offer useful products to the stay-at-home economy. In addition, 65% of consumers throughout the world feel that the way a brand responds and reacts during this crisis will have a major impact on their likelihood to buy that brand in the future. Brands, acting as nannies (“Brandnies”), have a chance to engage kids in a meaningful way and offer support to parents in need - and the brands that do will be rewarded. 

Khan Academy

One brand taking action is Khan Academy, a non-profit organization that offers online educational tools and content for students. They have begun providing free resources, such as daily schedules and weekly learning plans to help parents structure their children’s education. This kind of support is what parents are looking for as they take on the new role of at-home professor. But there’s a fine line between helpful and opportunistic, and transparency is key as consumers are quick to scrutinize brands they feel have the wrong intentions. 71% agree that if they perceive a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever. 

Screen Actors Guild Foundation

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has also gotten into the “Brandny” trend by launching the free website Storyline Online. The site features free videos of beloved actors such as Betty White, Oprah Winfrey, and Justin Theroux reading children’s books that are brought to life by creative illustrations. Parents are welcoming the service as a way to keep their children preoccupied (although we wouldn’t mind having a lunchtime story break either, tbh). 

Tate Institute

Finally, a brand that’s both educating and entertaining is the Tate Institute, which has developed an online children’s platform to provide content like games, quizzes, and tutorials. Kids can learn how to create play dough sculptures, Picasso-inspired fortune tellers, and even stop-motion animations. Our personal favorite? An hour-long tutorial that teaches children how to Make Pop Art Like Warhol.

As families across the world need a hand around the home, many brands have risen to the occasion by offering free, useful resources to help them adjust to this new normal. Although this catastrophe is a circumstance no marketing director or CMO would ever wish for, brands have a huge opportunity - and responsibility - to aid and empathize with current and future customers. The “Brandnies” that show up for moms, dads, and children during the COVID-19 pandemic will foster long-term trust, connection, and brand loyalty.