Evernote. U.S.A., 2008
Evernote has been remarkably effective at building a powerful brand in an over-crowded landscape. The world’s favourite note-taking app notched up 150 million users in 2015, and it continues to grow.
Evernote claims to not spend money on user acquisition, preferring to rely on referrals for growth instead. The company finds its long-term users are the best prospects for premium subscription upgrades, so it focuses its efforts on continuously improving product experience until users can’t imagine life without it.
Physical products also power Evernote’s growth. Exclusive items sold via co-branding partners and Evernote Market do much more than grow brand awareness: they add to the brand’s emotional appeal, extend the app’s functionality and boost the company’s bottom line. In 2014, it disclosed that 15% of revenues are generated directly by physical product sales.
Brand extension products underline Evernote’s core message of elegant simplicity and beautiful user experience: a promise that collaborations with names like Côte&Ciel and Eric Pfeiffer help to strengthen and spread.
Several of the company’s product collaborations make the app more accessible and useful. Products that add functionality – like Fujitsu’s scanner and Adonit’s Jot Script stylus – arrive bundled with gift subscriptions for Evernote Premium.
But the hybrid analogue/digital products developed under the Californian company’s partnerships with Moleskine and 3M deserve special mention. The intuitive functionality these collaborations bring to the Evernote app is important, both for enhancing user experience and for lowering the barriers to entry for new users. It’s a convergence of utility that neither Evernote, nor its partners, could have accomplished alone, and a perfect demonstration of the narrow gap that often exists between competing and complementary ideas.
“Evernote – Using Physical Products to Extend its Digital Promise” is a post from Collaboration Generation: a series profiling companies who use brand innovation platforms to double down on specialness, and extend their reach and influence.