I had the opportunity recently to spend time with some millennial generation professionals who market heavily to their own cohort and Generation Z. They were telling me how important product knowledge is to Millennials and that they therefore want to know everything they can about a product before purchasing it.
Forbes writer, Anabel Acton, agrees and puts it this way in her article, "10 Things You Need To Know About Marketing To Millenials": "Knowledge is a potent form of currency for Millennials. They don’t just want to know about the product or service, but where and how it is sourced, the corporate practices, how staff are treated and the personal character of the leaders. When all those elements align, they are on board."
As I pondered this I thought about how we in the toy industry inform consumers about product safety. Typically, the package provides, on the back in fairly small print, an ASTM number with no explanation of what the term ASTM or the number means.
I wonder how many consumers know what ASTM means much less the number. As importantly, are they aware that the manufacturer is paying to make sure that the product is safe. In other words, we as an industry spend a lot of money to make sure our products are safe (and we should) but I am not sure we get a benefit with the consumer.
My company, Global Toy Experts, is currently working with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) to communicate with the industry about their new toy safety mark.
The UL mark is, of course, well known around the world for approving electrical products. However, over the past decade they have driven a rapid expansion plan to acquire the technical expertise and global capabilities to offer a holistic end-to-end offering to the toy industry, which now culminates in the launch of the UL Toy Safety Certification Mark (non-electrical).
What is different about UL beyond their recognizable safety mark is that they go well beyond what is customary in safety inspections and constantly track the entire supply chain throughout the year. It seems to me that Millennials will see great value in learning that the products are inspected by a brand of which they are aware and that regular audits are conducted and results are managed for things like: Risk Identification, Environmental Responsibility and more. In addition inspections are conducted which “build quality assurance directly into the entire product manufacturing process with Pre-Production, Top of Product, In-Line, In Process and DUPRO (During Production Inspection), Pre-shipment, 100% Sort, Production Monitoring, and Loading Inspections.”
If you are interested in learning more you can contact UL by emailing Ramon.Alvarez@UL.com.