Crayola: Environmental Disruptions Affecting Its Back-to-School Strategy
(6 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
Founded in 1885, Crayola has since established itself as US-based iconic brand with a wide array of quality products and deep connections with consumers, retailers, and licensing and business partners. By March 2020, Crayola had achieved category leadership and was outselling the majority of its competitors. It was on trend with new products and online content for educators, parents, and children—all with the goal of inspiring creativity among children. Crayola had also created strong relationships with and earned the respect of retailers, who had come to value the role Crayola played in their business, especially during the two most important retail seasons: back-to-school and Christmas. At the beginning of the second quarter of 2020, Crayola had to make some critical decisions. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus across the United States had led to business and school closures across the country (and the world), as well as personal physical restrictions. Crayola needed to immediately focus on three key areas: maintaining company culture, collaborating with partners to preserve the volume of back-to-school revenue, and ensuring a strong supply chain to meet consumers’ needs. These three actions would ensure that Crayola could take advantage of key opportunities and continue creating strong and sustainable relationships with educators, parents, and children.
This case is suitable for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on branding, marketing, and marketing strategy. The case focuses on preserving and protecting a robust consumer brand and analyzing sustainable business practices in times of uncertainty. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- understand how environmental disruptions—such as a global pandemic—impact traditional businesses and require them to pivot their go-to-market strategies;
- appreciate the role omnichannel retailing plays by combining physical and digital retail channels; and
- understand the impact of digital technology on the consumer experience—both positive and negative—and identify strategies to make it an asset for retailers.
United States, Large, 2020
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