Founded in 1995, BIC Cello Pens (originally Cello) is India’s most recognized stationery brand and the leading manufacturer and distributor of writing instruments. The brand, which was acquired by French stationery major BIC, is known for its consumer-led innovations, impressive product diversification, and continuous improvements to ensure the best writing experience for its customers. The brand reportedly sells at least 5 million pens every day and has a robust presence in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and other Asian countries.
In today’s edition of the e4m Pride of India series – a celebration of top homegrown businesses – BIC Cello General Manager India Manos Nikolakis talks about the brand’s journey and its focus on promoting education for kids in the country.
Talking about the initial days of the brand, Nikolakis shared, “It was in 1995 that the brand was launched in India and within no time, because of its products became quite successful. It was doing a good job in distributing quality products and our company (BIC) was always looking from a distance in India. We were impressed with the professionalism of the founders and that’s how our first meeting happened sometime around 2007-8. In December 2015, we acquired the brand.”
He added that the brand is building the inherited business since then. “BIC Cello enjoys a great brand awareness, if I am not wrong, it is close to 90%. We have 60% recommendations too. We want to follow this heritage and take this to the next level.”
Along with business KPIs, BIC Cello is really passionate about contributing to the education levels in the country and has dedicated great CSR and marketing efforts in that direction.
He elaborated, “Education plays a very important role in society. And in India, the government too is investing heavily in promoting education for all, which is a very good thing. This also positively impacts our industry. We, too, have an aim of benefitting around 250 million children by 2025 by aiding them in getting an education. We are partnering with third parties for this.”
Nikolakis feels that education is the sector that is most important for their business in modern times when most of the other activities have moved online. “Yes, the industry is changing but every child is going to start their education with a pen in their hand. And that’s why we see a great scope of growth for our business.”
BIC Cello, therefore, extensively works on diversifying its products for the changing needs of the consumers. “We do not want to bind us to a specific type of product. Each consumer is different and has different preferences. So, the first task for us is to build products for everyone and the second is to position the brand in such a way that consumers can identify you. They must affiliate your brand with something,” Nikolakis shared.
He also highlighted that the brand is working hard to have a solid e-commerce presence while still utilizing the scale they have in modern trade and local stores. “We want to be present everywhere. If you buy from a store, our products are designed to stand out and feel comfortable in your hands, and if you are buying online, our products will appear in top search results,” he concluded.
Watch the full discussion here:
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