Taxonomy Update

Around six months ago, I published a series called Taxonomy in which I tried to map out the competitive landscape for FPs and identify which brands were offering users the most value for money. Some things have changed in the meantime and today, we’ll update the list and have a look at who is doing what in the market.

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Brand Analysis: Staedtler

Some readers might recall a post that I published early on in the blog's history, where I categorised all of the fountain pen brands according to how competitive they were. At the time, Staedtler had recently entered the market and I wasn’t terribly impressed by their pens or their business. Six months on, they are more established in the market and today, I thought it was time to take a fresh look at their strategy, their chances of success, and what other entrants could learn from them.

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The Role of Social Media

Given the extent to which the FP market has shifted online, it’s somewhat surprising that so few brands have developed strategies for the digital environment. It’s obvious that the online market will only grow in importance in the future but it appears most brands are only mildly interested in developing their presence. In today’s post, we’ll talk about the role that social media plays and look at the brands that are doing well – and not so well – at harnessing it.

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An Opportunity in the Pen Market

I’ve been thinking about the economics of the FP retail market for a good year or so, and one of the things that stood out in the beginning was the gaping hole between US$200-400. There just didn’t seem to be many good FP options for users who were ready to step up from their Lamy 2000s and Pilot VPs but weren’t yet ready for a premium pen. As a believer in (relatively) efficient markets, I assumed that the brands were aware of the gap and that some were probably developing products to fill it. But twelve months on, there hasn’t been a lot of change and the market continues to be underserved.

For today’s post, I thought it would be interesting to go through the first two steps of product development: identifying a gap in the market and working out what sort of product users would want to buy. I’ll also discuss which companies I think are positioned to be successful in this space.

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