Part Two from yesterday’s “Parents need branding” continues with a comprehensive listing of thoughts and ideas to help improve the paintball experience for children courtesy of Kelly Wical, Tyler “Gizmo” Carruthers and Tina “Golden Girl” Ruzzo … read on!
KELLY: This brand on field websites, scenario game brochures and advertisements could indicate the following items have been checked:
- Scenario games that are designed to include kids. Many games allow kids, but are really oriented towards the pro team play, and kids are not really included well.
- Proper safety nets in safe/staging areas. Meaning they really are safe, through design and field monitoring.
- Help at air refill stations, at least for the kids.
- Difficulty/hazard levels should also be taken into consideration. This may apply to certain fields or certain games or parts of games that kids may want to avoid.
- Experienced, confident, in-charge refs, in sufficient number (and who get it about kid safety).
- Easy, safe access to and from staging/insertion areas (where you won’t be shot up all the way).
- Kid-friendly overall “feel” (and also a family orientation, as brands should also be sending out the lure to catch the parents as something kids do with their parents) at one scenario game, I saw a kid ask a ref where he was supposed to get his armband, and the ref said “from your general” and walked away. 30 minutes later the kid and I found out (I had the same problem with no armband) that the general was at his base, and where the base was. That was not kid-friendly (or friendly at all) of that ref.
- Waiting areas that are not remote (meaning kids still need to have others around always for safety purposes).
- Areas to lock up gear not being used (parents can supply a lock).
- Signage everywhere, repeatedly reminding kids to keep masks on, put on barrel socksâ€¦ One sign at an entry/exit is not enough for kids. They don’t see and don’t remember and need reminders.
- Kids are a main consideration and not just a financial one (and the paintball notions of family, respect, honor are being practiced).
- The kids are getting a good, theme-type experience that helps determine it is not a short-lived fad for them. Parents can tell when the kids come home how involved and engaged they were.
- The field or game is economically viable (meaning the entrance fees, paint costs are in-line with the offerings of other fields or games). And kids who need to purchase paint should be guided properly as to cost/quality/quantity that they need.
- There are rating’s sites that show me some relative value and experiences.
- Help/guidance from experienced players is promoted.
- “Build a marker”, and then buy the used one or order a new one right there. And make it an experience. Not just walk up to a window and say I want x with y, but a room where you have a good selection of markers, barrels, scopes, hoppers and can put yours together. Charge accordingly. But it is a big experience thing for kids who spend lots of time in video games creating their own custom car, their own soldier with the gear they like and it keeps the sale going back to the field, which is where it should be. They can also show their parent what they want and why, have the parent ask questions of the kid and staff. And if they were able to play with it, that should really cement in for the parent whether this is a good choice or not for their kids.
- Having this brand tells me the scenario games are appropriate and my kids can go to this field.
- This brand on product information could indicate the following items have been checked:
- The marker has appropriate quick-start, owners and technical manuals on all the parts (not just the main piece, but accessories like scopes and lasers).
- It is easy to assemble with a minimum of tools (and preferably included or no tools needed for normal maintenance).
- There is toll-free phone support that really has competent technical people that answer.
- It is safe for kids (no issues about tanks or safeties or things that would be difficult for kids to deal with).
- It is an economically viable product, compared to others.
- It is workable by kids (can they turn an air regular knob on and off with minimal finger strength, get paintballs into the hopper, fix a jam, not too heavy) and reliable under kid-pressure (lots of drops, mud, maybe water, dirt up barrel).
- Maintenance and service is easy (that means I don’t have to go through 20 steps of taking the marker apart and keeping track of little springs and screws, never going back together again).
- There is a recommended blog URL or Facebook name that is helpful and not overly technical (supplied and suggested by the manufacturer) that will deal well with the dumb questions.
- Popular enough for Youtube Videos to be out for the marker so parents can get more of a feel for it.
- If there is programming involved, it is easy to do for the parent, and preferably even for the kids.
- In addition to the brand, there would need to be some level of information about the equipment. For example, there should not be a reason to exclude an otherwise great marker from the brand because it was a little heavy for a 10 year old. It may be just fine for a 13 year old.
I believe this is not just some added, unnecessary marketing cost, but rather one that will increase conversions of otherwise one-time players, or rental players, into regular players with their own equipment, and that equipment subject to upgrading to newer, better gear. It also keeps reinforcing the main theme I started with confidence that the kids are safe, having the kind of experience they (and us parents) are hoping for and confidence that major purchases are being made properly.
Fields, stores and manufacturers that are priced fairly, safe, positioned properly and up-front should be able to do financially better with “confidence and safety” branding.