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Is Crayola evolving their business?

Crayola has been around since 1885. It has been a key product for most kids in their imagination and artistic development. The company is a privately owned company and does not offer an annual report to the public. Financial information is considered proprietary. However there are some numbers to consider from their website. Crayola produces nearly 3 billion crayons each year, an average of twelve million daily. In addition to making crayons, Crayola makes 600 million Crayola Colored Pencils, 465 million markers, 110 million sticks of chalk, 9 million Silly Putty eggs, and 1.5 million jars of paint. Crayola crayons are a must-have art supply for kids. These simple creative tools have had the ability to unleash hours of self-expression and imaginative play, as I recall my early years.

Crayola Color Innovation

As many companies that have lasted for over 130 years, innovation is something that moves them and if we take a look at the timeline there are some line extension to their portfolio, which makes totally sense. Some of the most innovative items they have launched are: Product innovation, packaging, new product line, colors (every 28 years they double the color count, see chart), logos, etc., however, some interesting things they have introduce have trigger sales to reach the numbers we have mentioned, such as, exciting specialty packs, like metallic, glitter, and even fabric crayons. Crayon packs are also available in a wide selection of varying sizes, from a simple 8-count all the way up to the super 152 Ultimate Crayon Collection.

In 2017 they have discontinued the classic "dandelion" crayon into their hall of fame. If see the company innovation pipeline seems to me still pretty traditional in a world where kids at 2 years are playing with iPads, tables or phones. Moreover, kids between 5 to 10 years that would be the main target to Crayola spend between 2.5 and 4 hours and teenagers spend between 6 to 9 hours on a screen depending of the report (BBC or CNN). They have launch some apps for entertaining, however, is Crayola as a company really embracing the technology evolution or we are predicting another Kodak? None of the innovation they launched has to do with technology or adapting to it.

If kids are evolving to a new channel or devices of entreteinment and learning, as well as a creative space. How would Crayola deliver on that, to embrace their creative and artistic skills and brand promise?. Shouldn't they launch a technology pen that triggers that? or a tablet that make kids become more imaginative, should they enter or joint venture with someone to evolve and continue creating new products to last for another 100 years?. Education has helped Crayola thoughtout all these years. However, who doesn't know that even K-12 are embracing technology at the classrooms and potentially here is a space in art and craftsmanship that Crayola could own, helping them to educate kids in a better environment and with tools they love and embrace.

In conclusion, traditional companies are facing a challenging environment, we have already some iconic companies that hasn't been able to evolve such as Kodak, Blockbuster, Tower Records, Sears, HMV, Boarders, to mention some. How many more would follow? and how long will it take them to realize where they are standing?.


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