Moleskine. Italy, 1997
Moleskine has established and spread its brand story with remarkable speed. Despite arriving late into a stationery market faced with a challenging future, it needed only a decade – and a water-tight range of products – to dominate mind-share and lead the market for premium notebooks.
The Italian company’s brand management and extension has been skilful. Even with rapid growth and expansion, new Moleskine products consistently echo and reinforce the aesthetic principles established by its original pocket notebook.
But beyond a devotion to its own pure product idea, it’s a brand that joins in and gets involved. Moleskine engages with communities and embraces new platforms in a constant search for angles that allow it to show solidarity with contemplative and creative individuals. It’s the mindset of a brand curated by publishers, rather than printers.
It uses extension products to not only expand its range, but also to increase its reach and build new bridges to consumers. The Italian company makes heavy use of licensed properties, but its choices are frequently original and entertaining. Above all, its execution of licensed products is never formulaic, featuring art and bonus content that underline Moleskine’s dedication to doing things creatively.
Under the slogan “Think With Your Hands”, the company’s Moleskine x Lego collaborations exposed valuable common ground between two much-loved brands, and was one of the first examples of a mature audience embracing a children’s property. The collaboration’s geek-culture appeal makes an important contribution to improving Moleskine’s ranking in the creative minds of tech- and science-oriented consumers.
The team behind Moleskine are conservative radicals: never afraid to innovate products or the packaging of its central premise, but always in keeping with the brand’s hallmark traits. The brand’s recently premiered collaboration with Driade extends its concept of “contemporary nomadism” to a logical extreme with a collection of furniture and objects for mobile offices.
The company also forms partnerships to keep pace with new technology and has been very successful at attaching itself to emerging digital trends. Collaborations under the Moleskine+ banner with brands like Evernote, Livescribe and Creative Cloud help keep it front-of-mind, while adding new functionality and brand experience. It’s a sign of a brand that refuses to feel confined by the traditions of its category: determined to support creative endeavour, regardless of the context.
Browse the gallery, or read my 2014 post about Moleskine’s beginnings and meteoric rise: Moleskine – Products for Contemporary Nomads
“Moleskine Builds Brand Experience to Engage Creative Minds” 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.