Following a visit to the London KidZania, I wrote Branding - Catching Them Young in NIPC London on 2 Jan 2019. KidZania describes itself as "An Indoor City Run by Kids." The London KidZania is located in the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush and consists of 75,000 square feet of replica child-size shops and offices on two floors where children aged between 4 and 14 can try their hands at all sorts of occupations.
As in real life, brands are everywhere. I spotted Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Aljazeera Media Network, the Bank of England, British Airways, Cadbury, Costa, Dorsett International, Eat Natural, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Global, H & M, Hamptons, Innocent, K-Market, Metro, Middlesex County Cricket Club, Mission Deli, Nintendo, People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, Roland, Snazaroo, The Original Tour and many others which is how I chose the title for my article. It is, therefore, no surprise that the World Intellectual Property Organization ("the WIPO"), the UN specialist agency for intellectual property, has published KidZania: get ready for a better world by Catherine Jewell in the latest issue of its magazine (see WIPO Magazine No 5 Oct 2019 ay page 22),
Jewell's article takes the form of an interview with Maricruz Arrubarrena, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of KidZania’s Mexican operations. He explains that
"KidZania is two businesses in one. It is a family entertainment and learning centre and it is a platform for brands to engage with families."The KidZania sites at Santa Fe, Monterrey, Cuicuilco and Guadalajara are run by KidZania S.A.P.I. de C.V. The sites in all other countries are operated by franchisees. Mr Arrubarrena says that "KidZania provides the intellectual property (IP), designs, themes, know-how, and operational manuals, and works with the franchisee to develop the master plan and choose the right location." He adds:
"The team responsible for managing and monitoring franchisee relationships, known as the KidZania Intelligence Agency, plays an important role in monitoring and upholding quality benchmarks. Control is very important in franchising. That is why we have very strict franchising contracts in place. Poor execution and bad service can damage our reputation."On being asked "What role does IP play in the company?", Mr Arrubarrena replies: "IP is central to our business model." His company owns the IP in the architectural designs and all the creative elements associated with establishing a KidZania facility and actively protects its intellectual assets.
KidZania works with 900 brands. On being asked why KidZania works with so many brands and what is in it for them, Mr Arrubarrena says:
"Our industry partners represent the city’s businesses and activities and are a key part of the KidZania experience. Their participation adds authenticity and credibility to our activities. By working with us, brands have an opportunity to give something back to the community by supporting children’s learning. It also offers an opportunity for them to learn about the evolving tastes and needs of children and parents and to cultivate brand recognition and loyalty among them,"With franchisees and partners in many countries, KidZania S.A.P.I. de C.V makes full use of the Madrid system to register and manage its trade marks.
The Mexican company's business model has been spectacularly successful. Jewell notes that "KidZania has become one of the world’s fastest growing learning and entertainment brands." In my article, I noted that "KidZania is a transatlantic concept but from Mexico rather than the United States" It is possible for a powerful, fast-growing, multinational business centred on branding to be developed outside North America, Western Europe or North Asia.
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