As a professional writer, I’m a creature of habit and so when I find a business tool that I really like, I tend to stick with it. Case in point: notebooks for scribbling and general note taking. I buy myself a new one every year. I suppose I could just settle on whatever is on sale at my local office supply store, but I’m stuck on Moleskine‘s lined notebooks.
This is a brand that has a earned a huge following over the last decade, particularly online. There’s lots to love about these notebooks: great binding on a solid spine, a handy elastic band that helps keep the book closed even when you jam a pen in between the pages, a hidden inside pocket for storing business cards, and a red tasseled bookmark glued into the centre of the binding.
All very old school.
But Moleskine doesn’t stop there.
This is where things get interesting from a marketer’s perspective.
It’s only after you’ve made the decision to buy one of these notebooks…only after you’ve brought it home and released it from its cellophane packaging…that you notice the following little note inserted between its covers:
Moleskine is the heir of the legendary notebook used for the past two centuries by great artists and thinkers, including Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. This trusty, pocket-sized travel companion held their sketches, notes, stories, and ideas before they became famous images or beloved books. The little black notebook, with its typical rounded corners, elastic closure, and expandable inner pocket, was originally a nameless object. It was produced by a small French bookbinder, that supplied Parisian stationery shops frequented by the international literary and artistic avant-garde for more than a century.
Now that’s some gorgeous prose! Moleskine could have just as easily opted to take that note and slap it over top the cellophane packaging, sticker-style. Instead, someone made a decision to print it on nice paper and tuck it away—a surprise that reveals itself only after you start using the product.
So why do you suppose they went to all this trouble of adding this little note on the inside of the product?
For one thing, it shows that the good folks at Moleskine have a solid understanding of who buys their product and of what those customers hope to use it for. Creatives like to be around things that blow on the embers of inspiration. Not a lot. Just enough. This little note serves as a nudge to its owner, saying “you can do this.” It strikes an emotional chord. And does so at the right time.
It’s also a nice, old fashioned touch, which is inline with the book maker’s product and how they differentiate themselves from lower-priced alternatives. What makes that particularly interesting is how effective Moleskine has been in cementing that perception…despite the fact that the company only been around since 1997.
There’s another motive behind the clever extra detail of including that little note. It reaffirms in the mind of the buyer that they made the right choice buying this product. And it reminds them again and again each time they crack open a fresh notebook. Not in a pushy-salesy kind of way. Rather, just a little friendly reminder why you chose this product.
A few other companies who use this technique:
- Gretsch guitars include a little “OK Card,” featuring a hand-checked quality control list, signed in ink by a factory inspector
- Apple’s “Designed by Apple in California” tagline on the inside sleeve of its products
Most of their competitors don’t do this. And that’s another reason why they do.
Little details get noticed. They’re often unexpected and they communicate a sense of craft. As a result, they tend to be the things that leave the best, longest-lasting impression in the minds of your customers.