One of the great traditions of elementary school in the US is Scholastic books. I remember bringing home the paper catalog, choosing a book, placing my order through my teacher, and a few weeks later getting my book at school to bring home to read. It was a real treat. Of course, these days, Scholastic books are a huge online extravaganza. Although my child still brings home paper catalogs, the ordering can happen online. The order goes to the teacher, I pay with my credit card, and the book comes home same as always.
The website has some tremendously valuable attributes. First, it can be searched via a number of methods, including by the paper catalog issue/page, by author or main character and by age/school level. Second, the site includes educational and instructional materials for parents, as well as expanded merchandise selections. Third, the site allows teachers to interact with parents. The teacher can suggest books that the students in the class might use, and teachers receive points that they can use to purchase instructional items for the classroom based on the amount of money that parents spend that year.
Scholastic has moved beyond books and into learning with a capital L. Recommended reading lists that blend marketing with information are posted, but they are enlivened by commentary from actual parents. See the comments on the Top 100 Books listing, including suggestions of books that are missing (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Roald Dahl titles, and no Laura Ingalls Wilder). Blogs include advice on how to help children attain reading and writing literacy. For example a recent article found via the parents Scholastic Facebook page (but hosted on Scholastics’ website) shows how to set up a writing center for children 5-7. Beyond that, however, photos make the Scholastic Facebook timeline bright and helpful. Children’s cardboard box structures, dog photos, and book covers illustrate the creativity that accompanies child critical thinking and literacy skills. Click here for a great example of what kids can do with boxes!
In fact Scholastic is moving to compete with Kindle and the Nook. Their website includes links to different apps that allows me to use the Scholastic books with my child in a few formats (including a mobile app that records the amount of time the child reads as part of a summer challenge to motivate reading, and an e-book app). The e-book app just won the “2012 Editor’s Choice Award” from The Children’s Technology Review (PR Newswire). According to the company’s summary of the first quarter of 2012, e-Book sales were a large part of its 10% growth (Scholastic reports).
A 2010 Harvard Business Review story overviewed a new model of consumer behavior called the “consumer decision journey” (CDJ) which was originally introduced in a June 2009 issue of McKinsey Quarterly (Edelman, p. 1). The CDJ model replaces the sales funnel model, showing that consumers spend more time in the evaluate, enjoy-advocate-bond parts of the purchase process than in the traditional winnowing process the funnel model emphasizes (Edelman, p.8).
Figure A (Edelman, p. 8): CDJ model – the post-purchase phase is extended and retains a relationship with the product. Consumption is not limited to the immediate purchase, but includes more emphasis on the emotional connection the consumer feels to the brand through the social process of sharing the experience with others.
Figure B (Edelman, p. 8): Traditional sales funnel – all of the emphasis is placed on the movement from awareness to decision in the pre-purchase phase.
The new open-ended relationships that consumers have with products, created by easy access to information sharing, means that retailers need to renew focus on creating a reliable, coherent message that aligns in reality with their product. Scholastic’s entry into the book app market, with its track-record of helping parents help their children, is another win for parents who want to foster literacy and creativity within our upcoming generation.
Edelman, D. (2010). Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places. Harvard Business Review. http://hbr.org/2010/12/branding-in-the-digital-age-youre-spending-your-money-in-all-the-wrong-places/ar/1
Scholastic, Inc. (2011, September 22). Scholastic Reports Strong Fiscal 2012 First Quarter Results. Scholastic Media Room, Retrieved from http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/node/498
Scholastic, Inc. (2012, May 24). Scholastic Storia Awarded The “Editor’s Choice Award” by Children’s Technology Review. PR Newswire, Retrieved from http://finance.yahoo.com/news/scholastic-storia-awarded-editors-choice-170600046.html