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"It's An Edutainment Platform Based On The Theme Of Functioning City"

Viraj Jit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer of KidZania India talks about the second global indoor theme park, investment, partnerships and marketing strategies

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Fun, play, water rides, and kid shows will always be favourite among the kids. However, kids are always keen to know more about the real world. So, here is KidZania, a Mexican company, which provides children to play, explore and learn about the adult world. Based on the philosophy of providing real-life experiences, KidZania empowers, inspires, motivates and educates children between the ages of 4 to 16-year. How it is different from any other amusement park? It is a replica of a real city with no more fun rides but fun role-plays. Activities in KidZania represents industries present in the real world like private services, public services, entertainment, airline, automobile, retail, restaurants, factories where children can play the role of a Pilot, Surgeon, Detective, Chef, Candy Maker, Fireman, TV Producer, Radio Jockey, Car Mechanic and many more jobs. There are no rides or video games here.

BW Businessworld Online's Poonam Kumar spoke to Viraj Jit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer of KidZania India, about the second global indoor theme park, investment, partnerships and marketing strategies.

What is the difference between an Amusement Park and educational theme park?
An amusement park primarily an outdoor attraction based on different rides. Its focus is entertainment. An edutainment platform brings together entertainment and education. Unlike traditional formats KidZania does not offer mechanical rides or coin-operated games.

KidZania is an edutainment platform based on the theme of a functioning city. There are no video games or rides and playing facilitates learning.

Role-playing is a timeless and universal childhood activity across the globe and while being fun it has a positive educational, psychological and motivational benefit.  KidZania has taken the basic concept of role-playing to its maximum and built a whole city around it. By blending reality with entertainment, KidZania provides an authentic and powerful developmental experience, preparing kids to understand and manage their world better.

What are the core values of KidZania?
The core USP of KidZania is empowering kids in a fun environment to develop real life skills. Through each activity, kids learn about how society functions, financial literacy, adult professions, teamwork, independence and self-esteem.

KidZania believes it can promote change, inspire global citizenship and build strong community awareness among our children through an experience that is hands-on, engaging, educational, and most importantly, fun. Social responsibility and building social awareness is at the core of our philosophy.  KidZania believes that kids can make a difference and its mission is to provide an environment that allows them to explore, challenge themselves and open their minds to new experiences
 


It offers an authentic, powerful developmental experience, and helps children understand and manage the world they are growing up in.  The activities have been designed by educators to help develop children's psychosocial, psychomotor, cognitive, social and emotional skills. KidZania focuses on building kids knowledge by integrating three essential factors: Fun, Education and Socialization.

It activities also contribute to the development of skills and attitudes; it serves to stimulate creative thinking, strengthens confidence and self-esteem as well as fosters interaction with other children.
 
It focuses on developing social responsibility amongst kids. We believe that it is difficult to influence change amongst adults as they are set in their ways. By influencing kids we will have a socially responsible generation who will in turn influencing their parents to become responsible too.

"Get Ready for a Better World" captures the commitment to providing a fun and learning experience which prepares children to make a positive impact on society.

How many activities one can do in a day spend and how many visitors can enter at a time?
KidZania has 65+ activity Zone or Replica's of real world industries and services and children can role-play more than 90+ professions. In KidZania Mumbai on the weekday we have 1 single 10hr shift while on the weekend we have 2 x 5hr shift. Average time spent at KidZania is 5- 5.5Hrs and children get to participate in 8-12 activities.

KidZania Mumbai is spread over 75,000 sq.ft. and can accommodate 1500 visitors at a given time. Our Delhi NCR facility is larger, at about 97,000 sq.ft., spanning 3 floors and will accommodate around 1800 visitors at a given times

Why do you have brand partners and what is the partnership model?
KidZania partners brands to build realism and add authenticity in the kids experience. KidZania designs, constructs, themes, brands and operates the real-world replicas that it creates for its partners. These activity zones - we call them establishments are made in conjunction with our brand partners. Each establishment can be partnered by its counterpart brand in the real world.

Brand bring their know-how for the content that makes the experience real and make investments to cover the cost of setup and running the customized branded activities. KidZania Mumbai has 36 Brand Partnerships while KidZania Delhi Already has 18 partnerships signed on six months prior to its launch.

KidZania has planned to invest Rs 90 crore for its 2nd Educational theme park in Delhi/NCR. How much did KidZania invest in Mumbai's set up?
The KidZania Delhi NCR Project cost of 90-100Cr includes interiors, fit-outs, equipment, branding, theming, and other pre-operating costs. This does not include cost of making the customized building which has been provided to us by our location partners IRPPL based on our design and specifications. The project has been funded by Equity & Debt in the ratio of 70:30. For the Mumbai establishment, however, the investment was about 80-85 crore.

KidZania in Delhi NCR is all set to take off early 2016. It is a larger project with a 97,000 sq. independent structure built specifically for KidZania. We are looking to investing into our 3rd city and are currently evaluating location options in Bangalore with a view to launch a center in South India by end of 2017. Post which we will evaluate other metros and smaller markets as well.

Shahrukh Khan has owned around 26 per cent stake in the company? Is he also promoting the brand as a brand ambassador in India? How can company cash in on his name in attracting visitors?
Shah Rukh Khan is a strategic investor in ImagiNation Edutainment India Pvt. Ltd. is the franchise holder for KidZania in India. He is not our brand ambassador how ever is the face of KidZania on key occasions and press engagements. In addition, Khan visits KidZania on special occasions like children's day, father's day etc. and engages with visitors.

In addition, he is passionate about all his entrepreneurial ventures, has great business acumen and understanding of the entertainment industry. This allows him to contribute to better the KidZania experience.

What is your marketing strategy for Delhi/NCR Park?
We have already started engaging with our potential customers through experiences zone and activations at Kids expos and forums.  We will start our school activation program IN January. Our Launch plan will include ATL, BTL, OOH & Digital. Tonality of our communication will be a mix of Fun and Learning so that it connects with both kids and adults

Do you have any tie-ups with school?
The Activities at KidZania are designed by educators and child psychologists to to aid and boost different behavioural skills in a child. The activities compliment school curricula and children can transfer the knowledge, skills and values that they have acquired at school and home and practice them in a safe but realistic setting. Because of this KidZania is a preferred destination for School Excursions. The Ex-Minister of    State for school education and women & child development Fauzia Khan wrote us a letter of appreciation for our concept and efforts with our school excursion program. In 24 Months we have received 2, 50,000 students from 500+ schools

Are you looking for some government tie up as well?
Government bodies' partners they believe that it's important to inculcate the rights social values amongst the young generation and that KidZania is the right platform.   KidZania globally. KidZania in Mexico City worked with the local government to develop activities that are intended to promote good citizenship: road safety, health, awareness of civic institutions and environmental sustainability
DUBAI Customs had partnered the Immigration activity at the KidZania Dubai. Their aim was to raise awareness about hazardous and counterfeit items and teach children the importance of customs in protecting the society and supporting economic development.
In KidZania Jakarta the Finance Ministry sponsored the Tax Counseling Activity that highlights the importance of tax obligations that every responsible citizen has towards society.

How important is a practical knowledge to get ready for the real world?
By the involvement of real-life application, practical knowledge invites practice to be the root of skill improvement in children - both cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor. Helping children deal with real situations, practical knowledge stands out as one that can motivate team work and cultivate curiosity.
 
KidZania is doing lots of CSR with NGOs and for underprivileged children. How would you define corporate social responsibility, CSR?
The Vision of KidZania is to ignite the hearts and minds of as many children as possible. KidZania Mumbai hosts 7500+ under-privileged children from multiple NGOs. Some of the key NGO associations are mentioned below.
-    Progeria Kids meet: Progeria Research Foundation has identified 4 progeria kids in India. KidZania in association with Media Medic Communication organised the first ever Progeria meet in India. The Indian Progeria kids enthusiastically enacted futuristic dreams with role-plays activities in KidZania.
-    Fund raising: Atma Foundation organised a fund raising event where the audience auctioned various basic amenities for the NGO kids. KidZania contributed by giving away one entire shift free.
-    International Book Day: KidZania hosts many variable program apart from the ongoing activities. This time we invited Hellen Keller Institute for the International Book Day, where kids got a chance to read their special books and enjoyed the role-play activities with the regular children at KidZania.
-    Special Olympics World Summer Games: We also invited the winners of Special Olympics World Summer Game. We personally complimented their achievement by inviting them to KidZania.
 
In addition - building community connects and inculcating social responsibility amongst kids is at the core of our philosophy and so a lot of our CSR activities involve our visitors. Kids For a Cause is this initiative that focuses on relevant in the news issues and creates an opportunity for our visitors to connect. For instance Build J&K, Light up Nepal, KZ Santa, Mumbai Police.

KidZania Mumbai's initiative 'Kids for a Cause' empowers children to connect with their communities and social responsibility. One its engagement was initiated with our brand partner Bajaj Electricals.  Kids visited KidZania donated their kidZos for Nepal earthquake victims. Bajaj Electrical converted these KidZos into portable lamps and delivered them to Nepal in association with Abhilasha foundation. One of the successful initiative was undertaken with Mumbai Police. KidZania Mumbai, along with kids celebrated Rakhsbandhan with Mumbai Police force to spread some positivity by thanking them for their immense hard work for keeping the city safe.  KZ Santa is followed every year where our visitors donate their belongings, gifts etc to the underprivileged kids.

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