strategic stroke

July 5, 2017

In the more than 80 years since Camlin was established, customer needs/ demands have undergone a major shift. How has your marketing journey adapted to this change?

Brand Camlin has been endorsed by several generations of Indians and we have been enjoying a monopoly in most categories of art and stationery. In the last five years, there have been many new-age entrants in each category. Further, today’s children are more demanding and eagerly seek something new. These have been posing fresh challenges to the brand. Camlin is enthusiastically competing with other players by offering new, exciting products and also connecting with children with its philosophy of ‘making learning fun for children’.

A stationery brand like yours faces a typical issue: although the end-users are mostly children, the buyers are usually adults (parents). Marketing to these two segments demand a different paradigm. What strategy helps capture the minds of both audiences?

The children of today are extremely knowledgeable and have a high pester power. They even influence the purchase of costly, durable products. Children have started exercising strong influence in the purchase of stationery products as well. And hence we are strongly communicating to them through mass media and activities. Also, teachers still have a major influence and we try to connect with them through our school activation team.

Camlin’s visibility has been strongly tied to engagement initiatives with children. In addition to painting contests and tie-ups with schools, many initiatives revolve around what is most exciting for children at the moment—its association with animation movie Hanuman Da’ Damdaar, Baahubali 2, etc., are cases in point. How do you assess the ROI of such efforts in terms of enhancing brand presence?

The decision for activity selection includes two criteria— the activity’s synergy with the brand proposition of ‘making learning fun for children’, and the ROI. We have made many small, offline events reach a larger universe by amplifying on social media.

How successfully have you leveraged the digital medium?

When we started using the digital medium, there were some myths regarding its acceptance by children, but all those were busted. Children are growing with the digital medium and accept it naturally. Hence, today we integrate the digital medium with every initiative and make them larger than life.

How has the tie-up with Kokuyo been? How has the Japanese brand helped strengthen Brand Camlin?

The tie-up of Kokuyo and Camlin has been natural and smooth as both are oldest stationery brands in their respective countries, and have very similar values. Camlin has also benefited from Kokuyo, especially in manufacturing processes and R&D.

Children are your most exciting consumers, as you have pointed out in an interview. This demands an agile response to their ever-changing needs too. How much has product innovation helped to keep pace with their evolving demands?

I maintain that children are the most exciting and demanding consumers as they are in their growing age, discovering new influences every moment. It is very important for the marketing team to stay connected with them and understand their needs well at that point of time. We can never say that we have understood the child consumer completely.

Audiences are warming up to the digital medium in a big way. Will pencils and crayons and even notebooks be the casualty of this trend?

No, I do not think growth of the digital medium will impact conventional stationery. Most institutions and schools continue to value the use of basic stationery—its importance in the overall development of children—and will always continue to encourage them to use it. Stationery companies should not consider the digital medium as a threat but as a means to connect with their consumers.

As told to Anitha Moosath