How it feels good to be ripped off

How it feels good to be ripped off

At the start of this year, i was looking for a new journal - it had to be simple and it had to have a grid pattern. So, i went to an office store, picked one up that felt nice and came to the counter only to be shocked with the price tag of 1800 Serbian Dinars (Equivalent of 18$).

To be perfectly honest i was a bit ashamed that i didn’t look at the price and i bought the classic black Moleskin notebook. I felt absolutely ripped off, and i was furious because i could get a classic black notebook for a quarter of that price but what i didn’t realize is that i also received a very valuable marketing lesson!

What is Moleskine?

Moleskine is an Italian company that primarily makes luxury notebooks and writing material. They are hugely successful and are doing over $120M in revenue per year. They have over 360 employees and are listed on the Italian stock exchange. Pretty good for a notebook making company, huh?

Artboard 3.png

Going in the opposite direction of everybody

While everybody is trying to create the best bang for the customer's buck, Moleskine is doing the opposite. They found a niche and they are crazy expensive, but if you look at their sales it seems like nobody minds that.

Instead of packing more and more features, they are stripping everything to the bare bones and stick to simplicity. The majority of their notebooks is plain black, with a small logo embossed on the backside. The pages of their notebooks have nothing but a grid of dots on them, which is unusual for a journal - no date field, no calendar, nothing - just a big empty piece of paper.

How they make you feel good about paying $20 for a notebook

Every time you buy a Moleskine notebook, you get this small book that tells you a short story about their brand and what’s the story behind the notebook.

Artboard 2.png

The text inside this notebook writes:

Today the Moleskine brand identifies a series of objects that accompany the creativity and imagination of our world. The very first of these objects was a small black notebook, born from a great tradition.
The Moleskine notebook is the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gog, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A simple black rectangle with rounded corners, an elastic page-holder, and an internal expandable pocket: a nameless object with a spare perfection all of its own, produced for a century by a small French bookbinder who supplied the stationery shops in Paris, where the artistic and literary avant-garde of the world browed and bought them. A trusted and handy travel companion, the notebook has held invaluable sketches, notes, stories and ideas that would one day become famous paintings, or the pages of beloved books.

This little piece of text is how they are making those 20$ worth. It’s not about the notebook - it’s about the heritage and the story behind the brand. It doesn’t even have to be true, it feels great!

When i first read this text it made me feel like a pack of a tribe, i mean if Pablo Picasso used a notebook like this who am i not to use it? I want to be like Pablo Picasso! 

The Moleskine brand is creating a strong tribe around it’s brand and they are counting on that when forming prices. They actually created a market for their product and they are owning it. The Moleskine tribe is willing to pay a premium just to feel like a part of a pack of thinkers, creatives and great people - even if this notebook sometimes ends up filled with random doodles.

The Moleskine marketing team knows exactly who their customers are and they are feeding them with the stories that spark their imagination about who they might become. Every time you buy a new Moleskine notebook it feels like a new chance to do something great, and the old journal you filled out feels like a part of your life - archived.

How can you apply this to your brand

You need to create a tribe around your brand, and they have to be crazy about your product. 

Just your average fans won’t do it. I love Samsung, but if i had to pay $2000 for their phone i wouldn’t do it. On the other hand, I just bought my second Moleskine journal. 

This is a process that takes a lot of time but if you plan on selling high priced products this is the best way to ensure that people don’t notice the price tag.

You can start by creating a community, but it has to be an active community where both the members interact with each other and you interact with the members as a brand. These can be subreddits, FB groups, YT channels - there are a lot of ways.

Storytelling is a powerful tool, and if you create a story behind your brand it can be a great way for people to connect to your brand. Try hooning your story about your brand to your target customer, what from your story is important to them? Use this to your advantage.

Having a fateful tribe is the only way to have die-hard fans. Look at Apple, a big portion of their products is overpriced BUT it feels amazing to use them, and you feel like a part of something bigger; Moleskine is the same example.

If you start building your tribe now, your potential can be limitless; so start creating your story today!

If you wish to explain what your product is - this can be done in just a few minutes with a promo video made with Plainly. This is a tool that allows you to easily generate a promo video for a product in just a few minutes - pick a template, fill in the data and get your video done quickly. 

Generate a video for your product now - it’s free!

I really appreciate you taking your time and reading this - thanks a lot!