Purpose-Driven Brands Helping Parents Become Homeschool Heroes

As parents, we are trained for moments of everyday greatness. It’s already a tough job to be a working, cleaning, cooking, caring parent, and now the global pandemic has given way to a new challenge—homeschooling your children.

Schools in over 100 countries are closed to protect against the spread of coronavirus, affecting the education of nearly 1 billion children. With homeschooling taking the place of the classroom, a new reality has emerged where parents bear the responsibility to maintain, supplement, and bolster new and engaging ways for children to learn amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

For parents with essential jobs and those attempting to maintain full-time jobs from home, at-home learning has become a challenge that causes many to rethink how our society organizes and views education. Media habits are changing, and now more than ever, parents and kids are relying on brands whose authentic purpose is uniquely suited to support their cause in this moment of need—to go from Super Parent to Homeschool Hero.

Good content is a premium

So what’s working and what’s not?

We hear stories every day of families reconnecting in new and creative ways with their kids during this time of social distancing measures. And despite the renewed popularity in long forgotten board games and puzzles, the age of digital entertainment is squarely upon us and the search for quality content is increasingly important for parents.

Content on paid services like Netflix, Hulu, and even Disney+ are being exhausted, leading parents to seek new and educational ways to bridge the gap between the school environment, the typical rigors of learning and our current “safer at home” reality. In fact, with kids staying home from school, it is no surprise that daytime viewing of the top children’s networks is up 31% over the same time last year.

Redefining what is the new normal with kids at home is challenging but manageable if we can remember a few simple ideas that bring education, entertainment and quality time together, while parents remain calm, cool and collected.

What Does A Pandemic Mean For Our Children?

Children’s Daytime TV Viewing Up

Brands living up to their purpose

With everyone sheltered at home, time-honored brands of quality content have become increasingly relevant in the context of a global pandemic. The San Diego Zoo showcases numerous live videos daily of their favorite animals while Google Earth has launched virtual tours of 31 of the world’s most incredible national parks so you can “travel” to exotic places right from your living room.

Older children are enjoying Mo Williams Lunch Doodles and keeping active with Go Noodle’s mindfulness and movement. From a content perspective, Nickelodeon, which has seen a surge in TV ratings, has launched #KidsTogether, that focuses on favorite characters like SpongeBob washing his hands, teachable quirks and important messages. And for those who may not subscribe, many channels like Noggin for preschoolers, are offering a few months free.

Remember how much we all loved Scholastic books? Since we can’t run to our school’s book fair, it’s heartening to know that their new free digital learning hub includes writing, reading and geography challenges designed specifically for each age group, as well as virtual field trips that can transport kids to interesting places. This new digital community called Scholastic Home Base is just what kids need when parents are trying to work and combat the “I’m bored” mentality during the day.

Another impressive educational program launch has been PBS’s At-Home-Learning geared for children. On a local level, PBS Wisconsin and Milwaukee PBS have announced an ambitious partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to bring equitable education into every home to support at-home learning for students and families who may not have access to internet and online learning. This proves to be a win for all sides—Milwaukee PBS who is uniquely suited to deliver value with its partners, as well as the general public who yearns for education, entertainment, and inspiration they can rely on.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and each PBS station has stepped up to provide a schedule of educational programs geared to children from pre-K through 12. Milwaukee PBS is proud to have partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to provide content to inform and educate young students who are at home.”

Bohdan Zachary,
Vice President and General Manager
Milwaukee PBS

A new brand landscape

The world, as we know it, is very much still in flux. The road to “new normal” will traverse many challenges presented by “middle normal” before reaching its destination.

When the pandemic is over, there will be a search for proof among the outcomes and lessons learned (literally) from this sudden experiment in homeschooling. Many will ask: Have our best efforts been good enough, and have my efforts to homeschool and surround my child with learning and enrichment upheld the standards of “normal education?”

We should all take heart and notice: The brands that have always supported parents by living their purpose are finding new ways to engage in an ever-changing digital and social environment. These brands are models for other organizations whose marketing leadership grapples with the question: How do we continue living our core brand purpose in a world where technology, social stability, and short and long term priorities are shifting faster than ever?