Inspirational Owners: March 2007
Moleskine is a family of notebooks with a rich history that has captured the hearts and minds of people the world over. Maria Sebregondi is in charge of brand equity and communication for Moleskine and she shares her thoughts with Lovemarks.com about Moleskine and what makes the brand a Lovemark.
Lovemarks: Why do you think so many people feel passionate about Moleskine?
Maria Sebregondi: Moleskine is culture, travel, imagination, memory, personal identity. It is a collection of independent tools that accompany everyday and extraordinary events. A Moleskine notebook becomes an integral part of one’s personality. It is a basic, compact and intelligent accessory. Symbolic and practical elements are combined in one story-telling object that releases energy and emotions collected over time.
LM: Lovemarks is premised on the Love/Respect Axis and attaining both High Love and High Respect. How do you relate the ideas of Love and Respect to the way your business works from day to day?
MS: Attention to quality, consumer relations and authenticity are the basis for Love and Respect. Moleskine is obsessed with quality. We are constantly in conversation with our consumers through customer care (we reply personally to everyone!) and direct contact with various Moleskine communities. We do not hesitate to put ourselves on the line and face criticism – which is more than compensated by the gratification we receive.
LM: Great stories feed Mystery. How does Moleskine use storytelling to add Mystery to its business?
MS: Moleskine is a notebook that tells a story. Its place in history is as an anonymous keeper of sketches and notes, before they became famous pictures or pages of well-loved books. Moleskine is also a ‘book yet to be written’ and the notebook’s owner is the person writing it. The Mystery, therefore, is two-fold: in its legend and future destination. Moleskine enhances its creative and dreamlike aura by involving artists, writers and designers in interactive exhibitions and events, such as the group show Detour and the My Detour events to be held in June 2008 in New York; by offering itself as a pocket-sized trusty companion for meaningful existential experiences; and by interfacing with communities on the Web.
LM: Can you identify how one of the five senses – or a combination or interplay of more than one – connects most strongly with your product or service?
MS: Sight, of course, governs all our choices relating to form and color, but after that, I would say that touch is the sense that we consider the most. Size, texture and weight are fundamental characteristics for an object that you keep with you, carry on you and follows your movements. We pay great attention to the texture of the covers, whether hard or soft, to the velvety feel of the paper and the flexibility of the elastic. Each single detail is carefully designed to generate a pleasant and profound tactile experience. Smell and sound also influence our choices. Smell is very important, as is the rustling sound of paper.
LM: Shared experiences show us where we belong and who cares about us. Do you have an inspirational experience that you use to show how you feel about your brand?
MS: On the Web, a vast number of spontaneous communities have grown around Moleskine. We continually receive inspiration and suggestions from the Moleskine community that have prompt us to create new products, to improve the quality of what we offer. It was the input from these online communities that gave birth to the idea of the City notebooks – ‘the first guidebooks you write yourself’. This will be interfaced with moleskinecity.com, a series of cityblogs that Moleskine proposes as an open point of contact for city users. It is an experience that connects social networks, both offline and online, and is a completely new idea in our business sector.
LM: Share with us 3 companies that you Love and Respect.
MS: Illy, for its high quality coffee and ability to build a brand around history, culture, ethics and aesthetics. Nokia, for being creative and innovative without succumbing to shallow spectacularity. Amazon.com, for the fact that all the books in the world are now just a click away.
LM: Name 5 of your Lovemarks.