We want children to understand the value of money: Viraj Jit Singh, CMO, KidZania
KidZania, an international theme park for children, gives young ones the opportunity to be like adults. Singh tells us more about the idea behind KidZania, their collaboration with brands and future plans
KidZania is a chain of indoor theme parks built around the concept of role-playing. Viraj Jit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer of KidZania, believes children always want to indulge in the activities of adults and KidZania gives them the opportunity to work like adults and earn money. In an interview with exchange4media, Singh talks about the core idea of KidZania and how they collaborate with brands. Excerpts:
Previously you were associated in the TV industry and now you are heading as CMO of KidZania. How do you see this change?
When I was in the media Industry, I was largely in the revenue generation function both in reliance and Viacom 18. Today I am sitting at the other side of the table and understanding what a marketer and brand objective is, while looking at the assets we have.
I think my journey as a CMO is far more holistic because I manage the partnerships, revenue functions and look after building the brand. I believe my journey is extremely fulfilling because of the type of work, when you see 1500 children visiting with smile on their face to learn what the real world is like is the most amazing feeling.
KidZania allows children to work in adult jobs and earn currency. Could you tell us more about it?
The essence of KidZania’s experience is about financial literacy. We want children to understand the world of work and the value of money. Therefore, the entire experience is a representation of how the real world works. In KidZania the activities are the real life replicas of industry and services that exists in the real world.
In the real world, adults earn money. So, he/she can avail the goods and services by spending that amount of money. The same happens in KidZania when a child walks into our activities room and gets a job as a courier boy, as a pilot and so forth, and after completing the activities we give them salary in the form of KidZania currency known as Kidzos. Now, the children can go and earn money and spend money on the other services which he/she wants to do. So, we are teaching them how to save money and value money through the essence of KidZania currency.
Shah Rukh Khan had invested 26% stake in KidZania. In what terms is he involved with the company?
Yes, he is an actual shareholder. It is his personal investment. He has a representation on the board. On a personal level, he is an extremely successful entertainer and businessman. He always contributes whether it is about launching a new initiative or having a meeting of Boards of Directors. Whenever he has the opportunity he meets our management team to understand how things are going and also gives his advice.
What are your marketing strategies with other brands?
KidZania is an Indo-theme park for children between the age of 2-16 years and we also target parents between 25-44 years. Thus, we are also a marketing platform who wants brands to be responsible towards both parents and children. For example, we have a bank in KidZania and Yesbank has partnered with us. Similarly, Amity University, L&T mutual funds and many other brands are associated with us. In India we have 80 brands and globally we have more than 900 partnerships. Brands want to work with us because they want to be responsible marketers and therefore they want to engage themselves with both parents and children. For instance, today Yes bank is associated with KidZania in educating children about the value of money. For us, brands are inclined towards empowering children or playing a role in changing society because these children will be the next generation, who will positively contribute to the society.
KidZania is present in 24 countries worldwide. How you see the business prospects in India as compared to other parts of the world?
India has one of the youngest and largest populations in the world and therefore is amongst the most important countries for KidZania globally. The HQ has marked 3 countries as priorities for growth – India, USA and China. USA has just announced that they will launch their first centre in 2018 and KidZania is still looking for a franchise partner in China. India already has two centres operational and its third is in the planning stage for a set up in Bangalore in 2018.
KidZania will expand its theme park in Bangalore. What are the other future plans to expand business in India?
The only next plan is Bangalore. For our concept the next big market is Bangalore. We choose the city because you need a certain population and you need a certain economic background for people to afford KidZania. So, after the checklist Bangalore comes on the top. When Bangalore will be launched we will look for other markets as well. In 2018, we will start evaluating the markets.
KidZania recently launched a Summer Ad campaign. What is the campaign about?
See, KidZania is a city of real-life adventure because the experience we are giving is as close as a reality can be. We launched the summer ad campaign where children came and learnt how the real world works. It even helps parents to understand in which activity their kid is more interested and it creates a stronger bond between parents and children. To reach out to the people we used various forms of media. Star TV is our preferred network, we used multiple kid channels to connect with kids, and we are being partnered with Times of India and Radio City as well. Therefore we looked at digital to build awareness about KidZania.
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