The success story of uni-ball rollerball pens began in 1887 when Uni Mitsubishi Pencil Company was founded in Japan. The uni-ball eye rollerball pen, still one of the best-selling rollerball pens in the world, was developed in 1994. Today, MPC employs more than 3,500 people and uni-ball writing instruments are sold in more than 100 countries. Faber-Castell has been distributing uni products in the European countries of Germany, Austria and Ireland for over 30 years.
In a 3-question interview, Eva Störrlein, Product Manager General Writing & Marking at Faber-Castell, tells us which target groups uni products would like to reach and how.
1) When it comes to marketing or “experienceable” product worlds, are there any differences in how you address the different target groups?
Each target group needs to be addressed in different ways and with different activities. For most target groups, you have to have both an online and offline presence these days. This applies to all products we distribute. When it comes to pupils and students, we focus on promotional activities at universities and on working together with bloggers and influencers. In the office area, we focus on in-house exhibitions and the sales staff of our customers, in conjunction with the online activities of the marketing groups. In the creative sector, it’s vital that we build an emotional “world of experience” and give the customers in the shop inspiration and ideas about what they can all do with our products. Bricks-and-mortar shops are still the most important distribution channel for our products. Many of our end customers go to a retailer and specifically look for our products.
2) Faber-Castell is the exclusive distribution partner of the Posca marker pen range for uni-ball. You are now cooperating with the snowboard, backpack and bag provider Nitro. What considerations led to the choice of this partner and what will be the first or next joint actions?
In France, Posca has been very popular in the young, active and trend-conscious target group for years. There, they use Posca for the so-called “Life Custom” – that is to say the customising of lifestyle items such as snowboards, surfboards, bikes as well as backpacks, sports shoes or headphones. We want to reach this target group in Germany with Posca, too. With Nitro, we’ve got a cooperation partner who is well known as the market leader in snowboards and with his bags among 15 to 35-year-olds. This cooperation offers both brands the chance to approach and inspire this target group in a new and creative way. Our joint activities will also help retailers lure this interesting target group into their stores. Besides giving away a free Posca marker with every Nitro bag sold so that customers can try them, we are also using the Nitro boards and bags in our Posca painting activities. We’re also benefiting from each other’s social media activities. At Insights-X 2018, the Nitro stand will, therefore, be placed right next to the uni-ball stand, so that interested retailers can see for themselves the advantages that both Posca and Nitro offer.
3) Why did you decide to exhibit at Insights-X?
Insights-X is an important trade fair for us. We have the chance to meet our trading partners here, to exchange ideas and to present our product concepts, novelties and the shopping experience at the POS in an emotional way. At present, there’s no better way to get the look and feel of our new products across to our customers.