There’s thinking outside of the box and then there’s thinking outside of the crayon box, the much lesser-known cousin to the infamous idiom.
Founded by cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith in 1885, Crayola wax crayons (sold under the Binney & Smith name) didn’t debut to the public until 1903. By 1905, there were 18 different sized boxes available to buy and in 2007, Binney & Smith officially became Crayola LLC. A little over 100 years today, Crayola has expanded its product line to include markers, chalk, colored pencils and painting supplies, among many others. (Bubble Blaster, anyone?)
Crayola has the distinction of already being extremely high on our recognition radar, ranking at 99% recognition in U.S. consumer households with products sold in more than 80 countries and packaged in 12 languages. Even Yale University conducted a survey ranking Crayola crayons as #18 on the top 20 most recognizable scents to American adults! So it makes sense that the brand would be a natural on social media outlets, but it’s Twitter where I’ve noticed them doing their best work in terms of reach and engagement. There are plenty of lessons that a tweet from Crayola can teach entrepreneurs, small businesses, and anyone with a Twitter handle, to pass on the internet with flying colors.
1) Give your products, don’t brag about them nonstop.
Crayola has enough within their product line to be able to tweet about new arrivals and plug constantly which ones to buy and where at for what price, but they don’t. Instead, what I see happening is whenever a customer has an issue with one of the products – be it broken crayons or markers running out of ink too quickly – and tweets about it, Crayola comes to the rescue asking the person tweeting to DM them with the style number on the package and their mailing address for a replacement. These fast responses not only work, but they also get the favorite love from other Twitter users, pleased to see the coloring company is on the case to make what was wrong right again with already-purchased products – and not just by sending over a 10% discount coupon code to use on the website either.
2) Help and praise go hand in hand.
Innovation, fun, kids, and quality – the four key principles that Crayola represents are never more in action than noting the tweets that compliment and help out their following. If you need to know whether the products are non-toxic or how to wash over a stubborn marker stain, Crayola’s tweetable tips lend an easy hand here. If you’ve drawn a picture you want to show off or captured an image of a friend hard at work coloring and @ mentioned Crayola in the tweet, you’re bound to get some love from them on Twitter. I can’t say it enough here – brands of all shapes and sizes are never more endeared to their customer than the moment when they recognize what they’re saying through social outlets and respond back.
3) Being “medium agnostic.”
This is a direct quote from Victoria Lozano, VP of Corporate Strategy at Crayola and it’s one that I like a lot. Crayola, as Lozano explains, is for the kids and how they play. Children are constantly curious, ready and willing to take on an adventure and known for their honesty.
While other companies may be inclined to reap in the benefits of a passing meme’s success and play off of that for awhile, Crayola is more focused on child development at certain ages to create their products as well as how much they can help parents to raise children who are inspired and creative at every age. Social media plays a huge role in this kind of innovation. Analytics are certainly paid attention to for determining which outlets perform best for sales, but ultimately these outlets emphasize the importance of starting a conversation and keeping it going with parents, educational institutions and kids alike. By continuing the conversation, they’re keeping the brand just as beloved and timeless as it was over 100 years ago.