I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for branding.

Recently, I took a one-week vacation to Mexico and in preparing for that trip, I thought to bring a notebook. Part of the purpose of the trip was to get some downtime. To relax. To think. To experience instead of what most of my days look like which is to respond moment-by-moment to a to-do list or the most immediate email/phone message in my inbox.

A few weeks before I left, I stumbled upon a Moleskine. Never heard of it? Here, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moleskine

In essence, the Moleskine I bought is a notebook rather like any other notebook. Although it has its unique features and is of a higher quality than many other notebook, at base, it has a cover, binding and simple lined pages within on which to write. To be honest, I likely could have acquired a similar notebook for much cheaper, but interest in the Moleskine brand drew me in - and I didn't even know the full breadth of the brand yet.

I noticed after buying it, that it had a pocket inside the cover. Examining the pocket I found the story of Moleskine. A story that explains the beginnings of Moleskine as a beloved travel companion and creative outlet for novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin. Chatwin loved the book so much that he would travel from England to Paris to get them. The story goes on to explain that production of this limited access product ended in 1986 and was revived in 1997 in Milan, Italy from where it has become a recognized brand worldwide.

The point of me telling you this is that I'm struck by two things:

  1. The fact that I was willing to pay more for a notebook that had a story attached to it. Many people wouldn't care about this. But many, many people do and it has made a huge difference in sales. This isn't just a notebook; it's bigger than that, it's an extension of a story.
  2. This effective telling of a story has made this into more than just a notebook. When you buy a Moleskine, you become a part of a select group of people and frankly, that makes a lot of people feel pretty good about themselves

I love watching brands like this. I'd encourage you to check them out too. The brand doesn't just stop at quality product with a cool story. There's an online community around this as well; further story telling through a video interview with Chatwin's wife; personalization options; profiles of world-class cities; and much, much more.

Definitely a brand to watch.

Andrew VanderPloeg
Andrew VanderPloeg Guest Blogger, Consultant

Andrew served at Bark for over 20 years before recently taking over the role of Vice President of Marketing & Communications at ShareWord, one of our favorite organizations.