Yizheng Stationery is a market leader in children's eraser in China. This project, though grounded in this category, is not to be mistaken for an advert targeting kids. This was meant to be part of a B2B communications brand building framework.
As manufacturers in China transit from OEM, ODM to being brand owners, the founders need to embark on the often unfamiliar process of brand building. This process of building their brands from scratch is an onerous task, and with so much to do, knowing where to start, and subsequent project phasing is key. Here we decided to embark on B2B communications first, before tackling B2C touchpoints. It is more direct, and cost effective, without taking too much time tackling market segmentation and product line architecture issues. Especially important for small medium enterprises (SMEs), is for the brand consultants to deliver in as quick a time frame as possible a solid response and ROI for the inception phase. Only then will the SME be confident enough to embark on the next phase in the long process of brand building.
This experience centre is situated in the factory, it is meant to be part of an entire sales journey. As such, the spatial layout and circulation is meant to enhance this experiential journey. Upon arrival, they past through the lobby, enter the experience centre and turn left into conference area. Here they rest, freshen up take a drink, and watch the brand video. Thereafter, they leave to visit the factory, to see for themselves the level of automation and production sophistication. Re-entering the space, they turn right, passing into the concept tunnel, and into the retail mockup area. It is important for business partners to understand the diversity of their product range. The journey continues into the experience zone and back to the conference room where the client will address further questions and conclude the business discussion.
In this phase, we left the logo largely untouched. Our aim is to bring the brand to life, making it relevant to both their partners and consumers eventually. Corporate brand experience centres targeted at business partners traditionally has many exhibition boards with lengthy paragraphs just talking about their manufacturing prowess and production capabilities. Truthfully, this type of execution puts people to sleep, and what it does is deliver messaging on a very crude level. Our approach therefore is to deliver a visual spectacle; impress, intrigue and they will want to know more.
In terms of brand communications, we ground the overall concept on the user level. In this age category, even if the child is the end user, the parent is the gatekeeper. The former typically only cares about whether how attractive the product is, the latter however, are the ones we are targeting in terms of messaging.
We all have good and bad memories from our childhood. But as we grow older, the bad ones tend to fade, leaving the good ones. This is the empowering message that we wish to convey to the parents and for them to tell their children. Everything has two sides to it. If we manage to overcome the short term difficulty, the reward is often life long. Once we overcome the unfamilarity of making friends, the resulting friendship could last a lifetime. From this concept, we developed five posters.
Rubber Light Installations:
We installed two rubber light installations. One is a play on shadow, another on colour. White rubber blocks protrude from the wall in seemingly random fashion, only when the light is turned on do the Yizheng chinese characters come into being. In the second we used light reflected off coloured rubber blocks to compose a painting with light. Both are dramatized by the before after effect in the storytelling with light.
Rubber Pendant Lights + Podium:
Besides the light play, we wanted to make something surprising for which rubber is suited for yet seldom considered. We experimented with making rubber light fixtures, and after numerous prototyping rounds, they turned out amazingly well. It took a while to get the right mix of both rigidity and translucency in the white and black rubber tubes. We made 3 sets of these rubber chandeliers, and they are configured differently elevation wise. But from a bottom looking up, it spells the chinese characters of Yizheng, being a mirror image of the wooden blocks on the podium below.
In this project, we demonstrated how erasers are companions and witnesses to our childhood, from a conceptual level, to a product level, to an artistic elevated level. We left no doubt about their manufacturing and R&D prowess with the acrylic wall and the rubber pendant lights. We made possible beautiful objects expressed unexpectedly using rubber as the key material.
The reception and feedback from Yizheng's partners, distributors, and even by the local government, who are tasked with grooming innovative enterprises, is beyond our wildest expectation. The rewards have gone beyond simple material return to investment; the influence and respect gained is immeasurable. All these efforts however, is but one small step in helping this chinese brand to grow to become world champions.