A couple of posts ago, I singled out Moleskine as an excellent case study in branding, in product line extension, and in the power of the conversation on the web. My post was prompted by a Business Week article, and in turn prompted a comment that there was more on the story at moleskinerie, the widely-read Moleskine-focused blog.
Looking at the BW article (again), at comments at BW, and at comments at Moleskinerie, there is some suspicion that Moleskine City is a heavy-handed attempt by Moleskine to drown out the ongoing on-the-web conversation. There’s a rather cool reference to the fable of The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs, with the implication that Molekine is killing its goose.
I think that the suspicion arose from the BW statement that “this points to an attempt by the company to take back control of its brand, or at least focus its consumers on a forum of its own creation.” The word “control” does not appear in any of the quotes from the Moleskine VP interviewed for the story. That person used more appropriate terms, such as “connect.”
Some of the comments reflect the view that Moleskinerie is authentic, and Moleskine City is not. But, as Armand, Mr Moleskinerie himself, pointed out, Moleskinerie is now owned by the US distributor of Moleskine.
The web which we weave, and from which golden eggs emerge, is indeed a tangled one.