Merchandise takes roots

On campus

 
Now, they can walk into a campus store and pick up official merchandise ranging from soft toys, water bottles and coffee mugs to designer apparel and other campus paraphernalia.

Although an established concept in the West, educational institutions in the country in general and Bangalore in particular are now making a quiet foray into campus merchandising. Not least among them is the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIMB), which opened its own campus store on August 15.

IIMB Chief Administrative Officer Indu Sekhar said: “It is a first among all IIMs and IITs where an official merchandise store has been opened in the campus. Students, alumni, visitors and parents can buy shirts, eco-friendly watches, etc.”

Two other institutions in the city, the PES group and the Alliance Business School have tied up with Mumbai-based Pride Forever Enterprises and have set up full fledged campus stores selling official merchandise.

The CEO of Pride Forever, Ajay Agarwal, said: “I wanted to bring the concept to India and we launched our enterprise in December last year. Besides the two institutions in Bangalore, we also have a store in XLRI Jamshedpur and are in talks with many more.”

Brand guru Harish Bijoor believes that institutions are increasingly adopting merchandising as part of their brand identity management program. “This is a strategy which has been adopted by higher-end educational institutions to make their presence felt both subliminally and overtly,” he says. Bijoor also adds that ownership of the merchandise is linked to the pride and memories that are associated with the institutions for students and alumni.

City-based PES group has a store in each of its campuses including its medical college in Kuppam. Doraiswamy, chairman of the group, believes that merchandising is not just brand building but a part of the institution that people connected with an institution can take home. “It is one of the ways to popularise a brand but it also serves as a souvenir or a memento for students, alumni, faculty, guest faculty and visitors to the institution,” he says.

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