Jul 27, 2023
Stationery brands: Shaping Indian education with playful imagination
Education, an ever-evolving landscape, is constantly influenced by the creative endeavours of brands committed to nurturing learning and growth. The space of education, however, has a huge constituent
Education, an ever-evolving landscape, is constantly influenced by the creative endeavours of brands committed to nurturing learning and growth. The space of education, however, has a huge constituent in its business that is often overlooked - Stationery. A big catalyst in learning that comes in small packages, stationery is so fundamental to education as we know it that we often take it for granted.
About a decade ago, stationery brands were going all out with their marketing campaigns. They rolled out elaborate campaigns with big celebrities that tried to capture the imagination of the masses, especially the school-going children. Though this product category often attracts low margins, we saw them tying up with big celebrities and sports stars. Remember Sachin Tendulkar acting as the brand ambassador for Reynolds?
This is no more the case, stationery brands are not using celebrities anymore, perhaps because celebrities cost a lot and stationery brands as a category work in the area of low-margin profitability. However, there are stationery brands that are constantly striving to revamp and refine their marketing strategies to effectively meet the changing needs and demands of the educational sector.
In this week’s column, we understand the shift in the marketing campaigns of these brands by taking a look at how some brands, like Classmate, Linc, Navneet, and Camlin, have made their mark in the world of education through their unique marketing strategies, embodying the cultural ethos of the Indian education system and stimulating creativity. Let’s find out:
First, let's consider Classmate, a popular notebook brand with a strong focus on enhancing the learning experience. Their Hindi television commercial, a 35-second video, encapsulates their vibrant approach to learning.
The video portrays a girl from middle school who is drawing a rainbow in her Classmate notebook. Her mother then calls her to see an actual rainbow outside the window. The rainbow, however, disappears as soon as they reach outside, and the mother gets disappointed. To make her happy again, the daughter thinks of a way to show her the rainbow again. She applies her knowledge and devices a way to show her the rainbow in their dark room through a prism.
While she is applying basic scientific principles to make her mother happy by making a rainbow which is the universal symbol of joy and wonder, the Classmate notebook becomes the medium for applied learning, where theoretical knowledge meets practical application. Classmate, in effect, represents the joy of learning.
Linc - Pentonic
Next, let's explore Linc, a brand known for its innovative stationery products. In this video, made by Wunderman Thompson South Asia, Linc intends to position its product, a gum stick, as a powerful and revolutionary product that makes children’s imagination come true.
In the animated video, a child makes a paper plane with the help of Linc’s Gumstick. After he flies the plane, the plane traverses many geographies and difficult terrains of India before flying back to the child’s room. The video almost reminds you of Sanju’s Magic Pencil from the popular kids’ TV series of the 90s, Shaka Laka Boom Boom - it makes your dreams come true in the form of material manifestation.
Linc intends to communicate to the audience that it is a catalyst in making a child’s dream come true. The video essentially intends to say to the audience, ‘Let your imagination fly with my brand’, as a symbolic representation of its commitment to aiding creativity and imagination. The symbols of Indian culture present in the commercial also further establish a sense of familiarity and reliability among the viewers, enhancing brand identity and connection.
Navneet Education Ltd. takes a distinctive approach to education by focusing on the problem of exam stress, highlighting how the Indian education system puts a significant emphasis on examinations. This suggests a prevalent culture of intense academic competition and pressure to excel in exams. However, rather than merely highlighting the problem, Navneet offers its product as a solution, adopting a 'brand purpose' type of communication. This piece of branded content is more about its stance on education rather than simple product promotion.
Navneet's content thus serves as a powerful testament to its commitment to alleviating academic stress, making learning a more enjoyable experience. The semiotic significance lies in Navneet portraying its product as a tool for better learning and stress management, thus symbolizing ease in learning that will eventually lead to academic success.
How Do You Work With Soft Pastels? | Kokuyo Camlin
This article would be incomplete without mentioning Camlin. Camlin is a renowned brand that has made a name for itself in the Indian market for all things art. It has built a legacy of quality products.
For its marketing communication, Camlin, however, has chosen the way of branded content. In their "How Do You Work With Soft Pastels?" video, Camlin doesn't just advertise; it educates. The video content offers a hands-on guide for using soft pastels, aligning perfectly with Camlin's commitment to fostering artistic creativity.
Camlin proves that they don’t need to convince their audience about the quality of their products. They simply stay true to their brand's core tenets and in doing so, they create very simple branded content that is intended to resonate with their audience. Camlin leverages its history and legacy through its content by not overtly ‘hard-selling’ their product.
The semiotic interpretation of Camlin's branded content signifies a learning ethos. The brand uses its soft pastel products to provide practical knowledge to its consumers. It showcases its products not merely as stationery but as tools for fostering creativity.
In conclusion, the stationery industry, often taken for granted, plays an instrumental role in shaping the educational sector. Brands like Classmate, Linc, Navneet, and Camlin have shown that stationery is more than just a tool for learning; it can be a catalyst for creativity, a facilitator of applied learning, and a companion for learners navigating their academic journey.