Color Me Intrigued: How Crayola is Expanding into Digital

The importance of expanding brand awareness what channels to focus on to build out new audiences

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It is rare that a brand has such reach and such impact that people all over the world can not just recognize it, but have memories of using the product for generations.

Crayola is one of those rarities. Of course, Crayola was built around the production of crayons, but throughout its more than 115 years in business, Crayola has vastly expanded its product offerings and worked to build a community of consumers who gather around the idea of creativity. But how do you sell that expanded brand and provide opportunities for customers to find and interact with you in new ways?

Josh Kroo is the Senior Vice President Brand Marketing and Digital Strategy at Crayola, and he is working on a number of strategies he is putting into place to increase brand awareness, expand digitally, and offer experiences for all kinds of audiences. Because whether your company is a century-old or a brand new startup, finding ways to adapt and expand will always be important.

One of the main ways that Crayola has been able to expand its reach is through the use of digital experiences and messaging. Kroo explains that as the younger generation becomes more digitally-native, brands need to adapt to meet them there.

“We have to be okay with kids being creative in a digital space,” he says. “If you look at kids’ free time in a pie, they’re spending more and more time with technology, depending on the age of the kid it can be upwards of 30 plus percent of their time with technology, and certainly within that, they’re being creative. So, what is the best way for Crayola to play there? And we evolved from this kind of idea that you had to do something physical, or physically creative, which is at the core of what Crayola’s been about for well over 100 years, to what does modern creativity look like for a kid? And I think that’s really where we set out to build from, from an app perspective.”

Crayola offers a few different apps that kids and parents can tap into, and each of those apps serve a different purpose. Some are made to increase brand awareness, some are built to drive conversions and sales, while others are simply meant to inspire creativity. Regardless of the app or the purpose, Kroo said when it comes to eCommerce, it’s best to simplify things.

“When you think about eCommerce… it really is a math model,” he says. “It’s the number of eyeballs you get times your conversion rate. So, how many eyeballs can I get to the product pages, and then what am I converting them at, and then what is my average sales price, or what are the products are they selling for? And that’s eventually going to be how you generate your growth and your numbers.”

A recent study reported that 81% of parents of children age 11 and younger use YouTube to find content for their kids. Kroo says that as more children — and parents — find their way onto the platform, brands need to invest there as well in order to achieve relevance.

“Kids are literally spending upwards of 90 minutes a day on YouTube, and if you want to connect with kids it’s kind of hard to say, ‘You shouldn’t be there,’ you’ve got to be there,” Kroo says. “There’s all sorts of ways from an experiential perspective to connect with consumers, and I think you’ll see us, certainly in the YouTube spaces, starting to dip our toes into the water of content in that sense.”

Content is the ultimate tool for getting in front of your customers without necessarily doing a hard sell, and so Kroo is all in on continuing to create content that resonates with every type of audience and customers for all of Crayola’s many products.

To hear more from Kroo and to learn about how Crayola is continuing to invest in the digital space, tune in to Up Next in Commerce.

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