ITC is going all out to create brand consciousness in the highly commoditised notebook market by doing a plethora of brand-building exercises to promote its Classmate range.
Apart from bringing in a whole lot of design elements, the company is now looking at creating notebooks specific to each school.
Speaking to Business Line, Mr Chand Das, Chief Executive, ITC Greeting Cards Division, said that the company is in talks with leading schools to create customised Classmate notebooks. "The schools can use the cover and inner pages to talk about their philosophy, while the back cover talks about ITC's rural development initiatives."
The company also plans to take the Classmate Young Author's Contest (a creative story writing contest for school children) to 12 cities this year. "We are going to target close to 3,000 schools this year," said Mr Das.
He said that the company would focus more on school-based activities this year, which according to him is more rewarding.
Also on the cards is the launch of 64-page Classmate notebooks at the Rs 5 price point. "Brand awareness in this category is growing, but it is quite slow as the other players in this industry are not making much noise apart from Navneet."
However, Mr Das is confident that the category would definitely see the entry of more organised players in future. "The industry is looking at a 14 per cent growth this year," he said.
About the greeting card business, Mr Das said that the scene as far as the sale of paper greeting cards were concerned continued to be gloomy. "The overall industry sales saw a 10 per cent dip this year. In fact the year saw a billion SMS messages being exchanged during the festival season compared to just 30 million paper cards," he said.