Is THINK (www.thinkpens.com
) on the right track to cracking the code for grabbing new users? Could be.
Slick, in-your-face ad campaigns (one features a bloody boxer and the line “If THINK was a fighter it’d kick your ass”). A website that’s radically different. Pens with bold styling and nice feel. All is coming together to create quite a stand-out brand. Even their one small shelf visual display at my favorite Atlanta pen store – Artlite – is in sharp contrast to the staid offerings surrounding them. They even outshine the floor-to-ceiling lights, boxes and baubles of the Cross display filling the wall across the room.
(An FYI to Cross execs: while you’re packing up your boxes and moving overseas to cheap labor havens, grab a THINK pen and get a lesson in powerful branding.)
THINK is putting all the marketing pieces in place. But can they click with users?
For those who don’t know the company, THINK is the hipper, trendier kid brother line to Krone – the venerable pen maker that mixes up the stylish with the gilded and gaudy. (I’m not sure about Krone – some of their pens scream “Cool!” while some of their pieces remind me of my grandmother’s living room suffocatingly stuffed with cute Lladro statuettes. Who the heck is buying those overdone Charles Dickens pens?? We’ll leave that to another day’s writing.)
THINK – like other pen makers – is firing salvos at the tech world, screaming “put down the keyboard” or as the THINK website demands “Think In Ink”. According to marketing and product development director Dana Piet, the target is definitely Gen-Xers.
“So much of the world is going to technology. We have to capture the hearts and minds and fashions of modern users,” explained Piet. “We’re trying to keep the pen world moving forward.”
Piet talked about their advertising and marketing strategy. The new website encompasses the look, feel and attitude of the brand. Advertising so far is confined to Pen World and other trade pubs, but when pushed about plans to show up in more youth-oriented mass media outlets like Teen People or Maxim, Piet fell back on a cryptic-yet-smile-in-her-voice “never say never. All options are on the table.”
When asked about the competition, such as the colorful and funky Monteverde, and whether they have any influence over THINK’s moves, Piet scoffed “At Krone, we do our own thing. We set our own trends.”
I think THINK is definitely going to keep turning heads, especially when it catches on with the style and fashion influencers in the mainstream.