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The Entertainer Squad: Playing the long game with social influencers

Guest content by Retail Connections: The Entertainer Squad is the ‘pro-unboxing team’ from The Entertainer. These guys may look like wacky japesters, but they play a… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

The Entertainer Squad: Playing the long game with social influencers

Guest content by Retail Connections: The Entertainer Squad is the ‘pro-unboxing team’ from The Entertainer. These guys may look like wacky japesters, but they play a very serious sales-driving and brand-building role for the British toy retailer.

Jake, Frankie, Izzy and Rory make up The Entertainer Squad, and in the last year they have been posting regular high energy YouTube episodes, bringing the latest toy trends to life for young audiences. All hand-picked actors, their remit is to contribute to the creation of fun content on The Entertainer’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels, whether showcasing the latest Bakugan collection, or trying out must-have summer toys. The initiative launched in 2018 to encourage children to explore new ways of playing, and to promote The Entertainer’s position as a destination for play – both online and offline.

Social media as brand enhancer

Katie Gritt, Social Media, Content & PR manager at The Entertainer, explained the strategy at the Retail Bulletin’s Customer Engagement Conference in June 2019. She stressed the importance of delivering social content to consumers that adds value to the conversation, rather than alienating with non-stop sales messaging. “Pushing out nothing but sales and pricing messages simply disengages people,” she said. “It’s got to be a two-way conversation if we are to genuinely communicate our brand values and connect with our target audience of children and parents.”

The Entertainer’s marketing team recognised the power of social media influencers in the toy sector several years ago and working with the big toy brands has carved out plenty of interest with influencers since then. “However, we found that paying an influencer £30k to post a video featuring a particular product was not going to be sustainable,” Gritt said. “So we decided to create our own influencers, and The Entertainer Squad was born.” The Squad have proved invaluable because their rich content drives interest leading to sales, but beyond that they have joined the ranks of successful ‘kidfluencers’, making celebrity appearances in stores and at national and local events throughout the year which all helps to build The Entertainer’s profile and create excitement about the toys themselves and stores.

Targeted content across many platforms

The beauty of ‘owning’ the influencers is that content can be planned around key seasons, is always on-brand and is designed to reflect the interests of both young consumers and their parents. After all it is often the adults who are the decision-makers when it comes to toys and games. “It also allows us to work with our suppliers to deliver great quality content for their brands,” said Gritt. Videos can be used across all the platforms and is highly sharable, generating lots of likes and comments – valuable user generated content for The Entertainer.

The Entertainer Squad might be involved in a WWE event one week and Slimefest in Blackpool the next. Store windows are used to raise the Squad’s profile and highlight what they are up to that week. And when The Entertainer launches charity programmes, such as this June’s Big Toy Rehoming Scheme with the Salvation Army, the Squad are perfectly positioned to promote the great work being done in stores.

ELC now in The Entertainer family

Gritt says The Entertainer is committed to using social media as part of the company’s ongoing customer engagement strategy. With the purchase in March 2019 of the Early Learning Centre from Mothercare, a whole new world of opportunity to influence is opening up.

The Retail Bulletin’s 10th annual Customer Engagement Conference took place on 5 June 2019, at the Cavendish Conference Centre, London

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