Moleskine Blogs the Little Black Book

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"We felt that it was important for our brand to connect with the blog world," says Fabio Rosciglione, vice-president of marketing and sales, via phone from the Milan-based office of Modo&Modo, itself owned by SG Capital, which bought it for €66 million ($89.3 million) in 2006. "This is a new kind of marketing policy and we wanted to be a part of it: These blogs are a way to connect the worldwide community to the brand through both the collection of notebooks and the Web."
A Fact of Fiction

And, as Rosciglione points out, Moleskine already had a sizable, unmonitored community of fans online. "If you Google ‘Moleskine’ you can see that we have more than 6 million pages," he says (it’s actually 4.95 million). "We support this activity on the Web and wanted to encourage it even more with the City Notebooks, which we see as an analog version of a blog." So really, rather than ceding control, 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. "We’re starting to connect to all the Moleskine communities, also to authoritative city blogs in every place," adds Rosciglione.

It’s not the first time that Moleskine has come up with a creative marketing strategy. In fact, you might argue that its entire existence is based on a blend of truth and creativity. "Moleskine is the legendary notebook used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries, from Van Gogh to Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin," says the pull-out blurb inserted into the back of every notebook.

But while the wording carefully asserts that the company was "brought back" by a small Milanese publisher in 1998, the current notebooks are really in no way connected to those printed way back when by the small French bookbinders…"

Moleskine Blogs the Little Black Book
By Helen Walters
Businessweek.com

Comment here or at the article.

[Thanks Joyce and Chris] 

Print it in Moleskine MSK format
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16 Responses to Moleskine Blogs the Little Black Book

  1. Allan O Dickenson says:

    Are they trying to control Moleskine blogs? They should go back to their nursery books:

    “Don’t love the gold more than the goose!” Take good care of the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

    This could be the start of Moleskine’s undoing.

  2. Sophie Brown says:

    Mayday, mayday. We buy into the advertising inserts because we want to, and that’s understandable. Moleskines are luxurious for the money, they lie flat, etc. The artists on the websites are wonderful, and it’s fairly Democratic. The downfall of the Moleskine will be that it’s a fad that will become bloated, and will eventually cave in on itself. This hype will begin to sound ridiculous; people have come to think that they are very SPECIAL because they have purchased a mass-produced product. The cult following is contagious, but Modo and Modo is about take flight because the user’s IDENTITY is caught up in the product. I went to buy some notebooks today, and went with the Moleskines in spite of the hype. But it felt a little bit cheesy. I didn’t like it. Not one bit.

  3. Akiko T. says:

    Isn’t this blog owned by Modo & Modo (or SGS or Moleskine.com)?

  4. Akiko:

    Moleskinerie.com was saved by Kikkerland Design, Inc. of New York. To this day, they have allowed me to operate this blog independently. More here:

    http://www.moleskinerie.com/2006/10/moleskinerie_ne_2.html

    and here:

    http://www.moleskinerie.com/2007/01/kikkerland_desi.html

    Allan:

    I’m not privy to the company’s plans. Love the Aesop’s story.

    Sophie:

    Thank you for your insights.

  5. I’m with Sophie. I take the insert out and throw it away it means that much to me. All I care about is that I can depend on my ‘Skine; I’m a pragmatic guy so I will use what I consider to be the best value. So far ‘Skine is in.

    But I just want to point out one thing about the article. They failed to recognize our gracious host and all he has done to boost their brand. How many of us here found moleskine because of Armand? At least Kikkerland is giving credit where due by supporting Armand and this blog. But it seems to me that M&M are pulling an Al “I Invented The Internet” Gore.

  6. Pete G. T. says:

    Looks like you are threatened by this new blog. Don’t be. They’re corporate, we are grassroots. Power to the people!

  7. Pete:

    “Looks like you are threatened..”

    That is not my perception and I am still able to sleep soundly. Power right back at ya!

    Leslie:

    Thank you Sir. You are too kind.

  8. I apologise for this rather simplistic suggestion but has Modo and Modo considered purchasing this website from Kikkerland Design Inc. and be done with it. This is the most extensive Moleskine fan site I have come across by far and it would be a waste to ruin it in a senseless squabble.

  9. Very lively thread! I was hoping you would post this story on Friday, too good to wait until Monday. ;-)

  10. Nathaniel Siqueiros says:

    All of the quotes from M&M seem pretty nice and supportive of it’s consumers and their blogging activities. They said that they just wanted to encourage more blogging, so they made a dedicated city notebook blog site, whereas Moleskinerie is a more general, all encompassing site. It’s that Helen Walters from Business Week that made the comment about M&M trying to “take back control of its brand.” I dunno. That’s just my take on it anyway.

  11. Kelley says:

    My computer would not let me ‘contact’ you, so I am putting my moleskine ‘sighting’ in this comment…

    It is from the book Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda…page 223…The character in the book, Camille, is an sketcher and recorder of life…

    “What are you going to do today?”
    “Tidy up. Some ironing too. And then I’ll go for a walk. The light is beautiful today. I’ll end up in a café or tearoom. Eat some scones with blueberry jam…Mmmm. And with a bit of luck, there’ll be a dog. I’m collectiong dogs in tearooms these days. I have a special notebook just for them, one of those Moleskine ones, really nice. Before that I had one for pigeons. I’m an expert where pigeons are concerned. The ones in Montmartre, or the ones at Trafalgar Square in London, or in Venice on the Piazza San Marco, I’ve sketched them all….”

  12. clkl says:

    I bought my first Moleskine at Barnes and Noble, without knowing it was anything other than a blank black book with a sewn binding that fit nicely in my backpack. Later, I went on-line to check for a more economical way to buy more in bulk. I hadn’t seen the insert yet.

    Searching for “Moleskine”, of course, led me here.

    If I hadn’t stumbled on this site, spent hours looking at people’s pages on this site, or read so many passionate testimonials, I might easily have forgotten the brand name.

    Such a response wouldn’t come from a corporate blog. No matter how beautiful the work displayed, it would always feel like a sponsored activity. The credibility of passionate users on an independent site can’t be overstated.

    Thank you for this resource!

    All the best,
    CLKL

  13. Andrew says:

    Armand, many thanks for the link.
    And belated congrats on the acquisition by what seems to be the right buyer.

  14. Dear Armand,

    “I have gathered a posie of other men’s flowers, And nothing but the thread that binds them is my own.” Lord Wavell

    Your beautifully eclectic threads have kept me coming here each day for over three years now. Whatever you may have a blog about, I will read it because of the “awesome minds” you gather together in your garland of a blog. It is always engaging, but not because it is about those notebooks I use so effectively. Like everything else in life, it’s not about the branding, it’s about the entertainment – “Does it work for me?”.

    Moleskinerie – Journalissimo – Notebookism – what-ever-comes-next, I think we know who’s the “Goose” here …

    May You Always Shine On,

    Stephen – from the Middle Of Melbourne Australia

  15. Dorthy Munno says:

    Once I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any method you can take away me from that service? Thanks

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