Omaha moms launch Blogglebeans for child-grandparent interaction
The web changes every day. Children are constantly on the move. Blogglebeans, a new interface for grandparents to interact with their grandchildren, capitalizes on the perpetual motion of modern families.
Several years ago some friends and colleagues at Ervin and Smith Advertising and Public Relations began observing a trend in their children: It was becoming increasingly difficult for them to interact with their grandparents. This group of moms began finding statistics showing that school-age children tend to pull away from their grandparents — even though experts say children whose grandparents are involved in their lives are more caring, thoughtful, social and well-rounded. This is how Blogglebeans was formed by four moms and one passionate grandpa.
The team has developed an online world where child and grandparent can interact through a series of characters that serve as the platform for games, gifts, personalized messages and more.
“Blogglebeans is the new product for passionate grandparents,” said one of the co-owners, Betsy Perez. “We learned that 80 percent of grandparents are now online and have been for several years. We also found that the vast majority of grandparents want to have more exposure to their grandchildren as they grow.”
Because of the creative resources that were at their disposal, this team — all from Ervin and Smith — has been able to contract with its own agency to do the animation production, web development and market research. This has given the founders the ability to focus on developing the heart of the experience: the characters, each with its own story.
“Zonk,” Perez said, “is the bear. He has a PHD, which stands for ‘perpetual hibernation disorder,’ and he can fall asleep at any moment.”
The online experience that the children and grandparents create and share with one another is unique and hinges on the characteristics and stories of their animated friends.
“It has been amazing to me how much the product and characters have changed from when we started to when we launched it. The collaboration has been incredible and has led to new and stronger ideas,” Perez said. An outside force that has greatly impacted the evolution of the Blogglebeans experience is the team’s work to make the site complaint with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. These regulations caused certain ideas to change.
Sara Hanlon, co- creator said, “We also had testing points throughout the development process with our clients.” She said she has seen a correlation between the company and those described in The Lean Startup. “It’s about what you build versus what your users really want.” Blogglebeans is working to make those two agendas synonymous.
“It has only been six weeks since we launched the active site and already the response has been great. Based on this initial feedback our goals for the fall quarter are pretty aggressive. At the same time, this early on in the process we are still focused on refining our ideas and creating the best product,” Hanlon said.
“I can see Blogglebeans becoming a household name. That’s what we are looking to for the long-term future.”