Moleskine – Branding

Branding is important for any business or product; the same can be said for Moleskine notebooks. Their notebooks, which carry a premium price tag, have emphasised the historical and cultural connotations of the company – as well as boasting high-quality acid-free paper – to justify the price and differentiate themselves from budget competition.

History and culture is the life and blood behind Moleskine’s branding. Before the company’s revival in the 1990s, similar leather books, which the current product portfolio is modeled after, were used by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Goth and Oscar Wilde – those that symbolise heritage. And it’s because of this literary connection that its main distribution channels are bookstores. As a result of this, the company used to be unable to keep up with the huge demand that has generated among writers and has furthermore snowballed into communities devoted to sharing their beloved notebooks with one another; no other brand of notebook has seen a following quite like this. Although the brand may stifle risk-taking and innovation, the company has made good progress in extending its product range too – address books, special editions, ‘passion journals’ – all create a solid extension strategy. Not that this is needed. Due to strong consumer-relationship marketing, a vast proportion of revenue is generate from repeat custom.

However, albeit still going strong during the recession, modern-day business does pose several threats to Moleskine. The product is manufactured in China, which, despite a high-quality paper industry, does not immediately lead customers to infer that they are getting a high-quality product. Moreover, the cheap supply of labour makes their products pricing strategy look even more like profiteering. Having said that, these are operational issues that, in fact emphasise just how good their marketing is to over-come such issues; the various functional departments simply need to become more homogeneous.

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