With all the talk of Web 2.0, digital culture, and so on, what hope is there for ultra-analog products? Helen Walters, in Business Week, poses that question, and follows it up with: what could be more defiantly analog than notepaper?
Contrary to what these questions imply, Moleskine notebooks are selling very well, especially among the young and trendy. Moleskine (I’ll call the firm that, although it’s officially Modo & Modo SpA) now has a product line going well beyond basic notebooks.
It recently launched a line of city notebooks. I bought my wife the one for Paris, but have yet to buy the plane tickets to go with it. I’ll get the one for Boston. In fact, I’ll probably get one for us and one for my parents. Moleskine also has a line of city blogs to go with the notebooks.
Its aim is for these blogs to be more than merely a branded Web presence of the Moleskine notebooks… while readers can currently only comment on the posts, the idea is that soon they will spin out into wiki-style pages of user-generated content, with travelers, visitors, and locals all contributing tips and information. Tapping into the notebooks’ target market of those with an interest in contemporary culture, the blogs talk up art, design, technology, and city life.
Now that I see the Molekinecity.com blog site, it seems like a logical move. Many bloggers have posted about Moleskines, as a look via tags at Technorati and at WordPress.com shows. Talking of WordPress, it provides the foundation for MoleskineCity.
Moleskine is an excellent case study in branding, in product line extension, and in the power of the conversation on the web. An interesting contrast is provided by another recent BW article on Hyundai. It provides another extreme case of branding, although not in a good way.