Kids2 Connection, Issue 8 May 2021
In This Issue
- A Note from Ryan
- New Baby Einstein Board Books!
- Introducing Baby to an Underwater Adventure
- Bringing "The Best or Nothing" to the Baby Aisle
- Bringing Kinedu to You
- Spreading the Sesame Street love to millions...
- Let’s Make Music, Baby!
- Oh, Deere! Babies Love John Deere
- Red and Black Is Where It’s At
- Inside Kids2
- Are you following our brands and Kids2 Corporate on Social Media?
A Note from Ryan
At Kids2, we believe that 1+1=3. While Einstein would obviously disagree with our math, to us, that equation shows how we can magnify our reach by partnering with other best-in-class, marquis brands that align with our Purpose and vision. This has been in the Kids2 DNA for almost as long as we’ve been around. And it’s how some of our greatest solutions have been created and put in the hands of families around the world.
Over the years, our brand partnerships have opened doors to new retailers and gotten us into the homes of more families. We’ve been able to enter global markets, match our renowned brands with globally iconic brands, and most importantly, deliver great products and solutions to families across the globe.
This month we are highlighting some of the exciting things happening with our brand partnerships under Bright Starts and Baby Einstein. The products and programs born from these authentic and well-suited partnerships provides much more than an opportunity to grow our business. I believe these partnerships enable us to deliver more tiny wins to our consumers, retailers, and ecosystem partners - in other words, YOU.
While we currently have an impressive portfolio of partnerships with marquis brands that I’m immensely proud of, "complacent" isn’t a word that would be used to describe Kids2. Kids2 and I remain committed to continuously investing in, exploring, and expanding our brand partnerships - I hope you are as excited as we are about what’s to come.
New Baby Einstein Board Books!
Baby Einstein can be found all throughout a family’s home - on the screen, in the toy box and on bookshelves! With more than 65 titles available globally, Baby Einstein books are a staple in baby’s library.
This summer, PI Kids, one of the leading licensed international children’s publishers in the world, will be launching a new series of Baby Einstein novelty board books. The books will first be made available in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Australia, and will hit shelves in the US and Canada in Spring 2022.
This series, developed utilizing the Einstein Way principles, supports STEAM exploration and helps parents teach early-learning concepts, including first words, colors, seasons, vehicles, and actions. These colorful, interactive board books are built to stimulate baby’s senses and feature playful and curious characters from current Baby Einstein media - including the new Sandbox series!
"Introducing Baby to an Underwater Adventure"
For all you Disney lovers - can you guess which Disney princess is most popular among Gen Z?
If you guessed Ariel, you’re right!
The Little Mermaid was first released in 1989, and clearly mom’s today fondly remember and love the curious, red-headed Princess Ariel and her fishy friends, Sebastian and Flounder. Nostalgia can be a powerful sales tool, making our new Bright Starts and Disney Baby play gym, The Little Mermaid Twinkle Trove Lights & Music Activity Gym, the perfect pick for Gen Z and Millennial moms. Not only will shoppers be drawn to the characters, the play gym features lights and music to keep baby engaged in a magical play environment.
You may remember the huge success of our Nemo Gym when it launched in 2017. Disney continues to innovate and evolve, and Kids2 will too! With the help of our Consumer Insights team, our designers have once again brought the Disney magic to life for the next generation.
Bringing "The Best or Nothing" to the Baby Aisle
Mercedes-Benz and Bright Starts combined is a unique and winning partnership - one we at Kids2 are incredibly proud and excited to bring to our consumers and retailers.
When you see a Mercedes star, you know it’s going to be good - after all, with Mercedes-Benz, it’s The Best or Nothing - and we decided to take on that challenge. Mercedes-Benz is better known for being on the autobahn, not necessarily on the baby aisle. Translating not only the look, but more importantly the feeling that this iconic brand invokes, was a project our designers were thrilled to take on.
Behind the scenes, the team has been perfecting designs to ensure we are authentic in combining the JOY that Bright Starts brings with what it means for a product to have the Mercedes star. We are so close to sharing the design, and we know families - and YOU -- are going to be delighted when they spot one of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world on our retail partner’s shelves.
Bringing Kinedu to You
Over 600,000 monthly active users around the world interested in helping support their baby’s growth, turn to Kinedu for activities and content created by experts in child development. This unique app is one of the only apps that provides personalized playtime activities that grows with baby from infancy to toddlerhood.
Our Baby Einstein brand and Kinedu share a clear connection, making this partnership as easy as A, B, C and 1-2-3. Last year we worked with Kinedu to authentically incorporate Baby Einstein products into the development activities they share with users within the app. We are excited to reciprocate by incorporating the accessible, yet scientifically-backed guidance Kinedu is known for, into select Baby Einstein products.
We are working with Kinedu’s early childhood development experts to create a series of developmental flashcards that will correspond with the age-range and milestones encouraged by the respective Baby Einstein product in which they will be included. Consumers will recognize this as not only a benefit to further advance the developmental benefits the product will offer baby, but also as a value-add, as monthly subscriptions to Kinedu’s content is priced at $9.99USD.
This is a stellar example of a partnership where everyone wins!
Spreading the Sesame Street love to millions...
For moms today, Instagram is so much more than just a social channel for pretty pictures. It’s where they are doing research, gathering opinions and advice, and turning to for product recommendations.
Influencers have become a critical extension of our marketing strategy, because we know there is no better voice to promote our amazing products and brands than the army of moms who know best.
Our recent influencer campaign helped connect us to both current and future Sesame Street and Bright Starts-loving families.
We identified influencers that aligned with our shared brand values and could authentically connect us with their loyal audiences. The investment brought visibility not only to the I Spot Elmo! Walker, but to the whole Sesame Street and Bright Starts brand.
It’s not just awareness, it’s connections. We trust the opinions of the parents that use our products and believe others do as well. Not only do we build connections and generate awareness, we gather valuable insights from them as well. Afterall, mom knows best!
Let’s Make Music, Baby!
Since launching our Joint Venture with Hape two years ago, the Baby Einstein + Hape line has won over 17 awards globally and grown to include 23 products. The original "Magic Touch" products, a collection of nine co-designed, co-developed, and co-branded Baby Einstein + Hape musical toys, were a first of its kind -- combining Kids2’s "magic touch" electronic capabilities with Hape’s expertise in educational wood toys -- and consumers couldn’t get enough.
Building upon that highly successful, award winning line of Magic Touch instruments, we are excited to launch a new line with more content, more features, and the ability to play along with family and friends! Using connecting technology, with the touch of a button, the new line of Magic Touch instruments can connect with one another to allow for a wireless, synchronized jam session.
With the original line of products, we often heard from consumers that parents enjoyed playing with the Magic Touch toys just as much as their kids…with the new, unique functionality of connected play, we have a feeling mom and dad will be the ones who need a lesson in sharing.
Music is a perfect introduction to a love of learning, and this new collection, which includes a piano, guitar and set of drums, is also highly "giftable" with the natural opportunity to build a "bigger basket," as families can create a band to optimize the connected play functionality.
Check out this video to learn more about the new Together in Tune collection
Oh, Deere! Babies Love John Deere
With over 90,000 units sold and hundreds of 5 star reviews online, the Bright Starts and John Deere Gator™ Ways to Play 4-in-1 Walker™ has babies everywhere saying, "Later Gator" as they safely plow around on their own.
Like our designers do for all our brand partnerships, we did some digging into what makes a John Deere a John Deere. Taking every opportunity to infuse authentic details into the life-like design to ensure it was a product John Deere loyalists would be proud to have in their living room.
Red and Black Is Where It’s At
Since launching in 2017, the Ford F-150 Ways to Play Walker has become so popular, 1 in 5 baby walkers sold in the United States is a Bright Starts Ford walker. For the first time since launching, this beloved product is getting a little refresh. When it came time to determine what new colors should be released, we invested in conducting some consumer insights to make sure we got it right…
The people have spoken - black and red were cited as overwhelming favorites for the updated design.
Be on the lookout for Agate Black and Rapid Red hitting shelves later this year! Consumers should love them - after all, they helped us decide!
Curious how car compaines choose paint colors? We were too - check out this article from Car and Driver for a peek into how it happens.
*According to NPD data, the Bright Starts Ford F-150 Ways to Play Walker is the #2 best-selling baby walker.
While all our brand partnerships are unique in their own way, the Baby Einstein + Hape Joint Venture falls outside the lines of traditional licensing - making it a truly unique partnership for Kids2. We connected with Jeff Cornelison, SVP & GM of Joint Ventures, to share some insights into this distinctive and successful partnership.
Q: What does the relationship of this brand partnership look like?
A: The BE/HAPE formula is two already successful (in their own fields) businesses, married together to create a dynamic duo that designs unique solutions for families they could not have done as well independently. The relationship takes the areas where Hape is the strongest in educational toy wood design and deep engagement with specialty retailers in European, China, and Latin America, and the areas where Kids2 is the strongest in Baby Einstein branding and toy design and the North American and Australian market as well as servicing Amazon Global. The Joint Venture brings them together to create a great global solution unlike anything else on the shelves right now.
Q: Why is this brand partnership important for both parties involved?
A: Kids2 and Hape benefit each other for many different reasons. Each leverages the strength and brand reputation and presence, along with the individual companies’ manufacturing, operations and sales strengths. The two build upon each other to individually grow and become stronger.
Q: Why is it Important for consumers?
A: Well in simple terms, consumers get the best product. It marries the best brand technology and materials togethers, and consumers can get products that can grow with the child. Also, it offers high value, affordable products.
Q: As a Kids2 employee, why is this Brand Partnership important to you?
A: It’s always great to have Ryan (CEO and owner of Kids2) and Peter (CEO and owner of Hape), who are both these "uber entrepreneurs" who are always thinking 5-10 years ahead. They are always thinking about product, and the consumer, and it’s great to work with them. We get access to the ideas and support of both of these industry leaders. Between the two companies there is a significant amount of cultural alignment which is great. We share many of the same values when it comes to designing and delivering great products to families across the globe. It’s great to be part of a purpose-driven partnership that brings this type of quality product to families everywhere.
Q: What is your favorite part about these partnerships?
A: To draw on the best of both companies. And personally, it expands my knowledgebase. I am a continual learner and learning from both companies. Taking what is best from both companies and applying it to the partnership is something I find very exciting. I get to act very entrepreneurial, but still have support in the great knowledge base and infrastructure in the two companies.
Are you following our brands and Kids2 Corporate on Social Media?
If not, you’re missing out.
Kids2 is a global company that designs solutions to help early-stage parents and families create tiny wins that build bright futures. The Kids2™ brand portfolio includes the leading infant, baby, and toddler brands Baby Einstein®, Bright Starts®, and Ingenuity®. Headquartered in Atlanta, Kids2 spans globally with 12 offices on four continents serving customers in more than 90 countries and has been inventing and reinventing baby products for 50 years. Led by CEO Ryan Gunnigle, it operates with an agile start-up approach, which fosters the company’s growing success.