Pen Views

Pen Views

February 2007

Pen Purchases, planned or on-the-spot?


I have found my self asking: "Are pen purchases something we plan, or are they more of an on-the-spot type of event?"

Half of me says that if they were planned our pen purchases that would mean we would be buying to fill in a need, a replacement, or something for specific recognition. Of course with those of us that are purchasing pens, there is a big difference between what we need and what we want. If the purchases are more of an on-the-spot, then it is more of a response to a good deal or what was available or the emotional connection between the the product. I think I am a little of both.

Edson Black DiamondWith the announcement of the new Edson, Black Diamond coming out in April 2007. This pen has a platinium plated cap and trip, a rhodium plated, 18k gold nib, with a stunning black body. I found myself telling Vancouver Pen, put my order in now, and get that Broad or Stub nib. So there is planned purchasing! No need being filled. I have the Edson in red, blue and green. No this is a want, an emotional tie to the Edson pen itself.

The new Black Diamon should be stunning. With its black body it is going along with my "everyone needs a big black pen theme". The while silver cap should make this a real looker. At about $1,100 CDN this will ge a pricey model and as pens get up into that price range, the tug of war between the logics of finance and the emotion of the want become very real.

But on the other hand, if I was to pick up the new Omas Celloid in brown, I just know that the emotions would take over and it would be very difficult to say now.

Pen marketing, from sources such as Writing Instruments Association, clearly lean towards the "want", the emotional connection between the product and a sense of recognition of accomplishment. Newell Rubbermaid, the company that owns Waterman, includes the Waterman line in its "affordable luxury" category of products. They say products like Waterman and Parker have a rational and emotional connection with the consumer. They are marketing the Parker and Waterman lines as lifestyles. A specific TV commercial was developed for the Parker line. Waterman pens, Newell Rubbermaid says, is an expression of who you are. A lifestyle statement. Look for increases in advertising in 2007 and 2008.

For their 2007 report to analysts, the company notes that product lines in the affordable luxury grouping are highly brandable which to them, means there is a high emotional and intellectual connection with the consumer. The focus of the company is to rely on a consumer pull based on marketing and brand recognition. I think we will see more pen ads in the magazines soon.

An interesting remark made by Mark Ketchum, President & Chief Executive Officer at the February 2007 Analyst Day presentation is that with the affordable luxury group (Waterman, Parker, Calphalon) this group allows for the ownership of owned retail market opportunities. Would we ever see a Waterman/Parker pen store? In North America only in the most selective markets. The company is talking about the expansion of new retail selling concepts and there were retail spaces within department stores in London Shanghai and Paris. The space in Galleries LaFayette, for example, mirrors the concept that Montblanc utilizes with specific counters and layout requirements. The good news, Newell reports these new retail concepts had very encouraging results.

In the end, the success of Waterman will depend, in part, on how the pen is perceived in Europe and other countries outside North America. According to Newell Rubbermaid, Waterman is grouped into the product lines that have more than 50% of sales outside of North America.

So I guess it depends on the perspective of the individual. Planned purchases for those who buy for others, and more of an immediate reaction for those who buy the pen themselves.

I going to keep researching this by talking to pen store owners as to how they guage their customers' apporach to the final sale.


Your pen, an expression of you.