PARIS — Executives at Montblanc have been rethinking the model’s technique earlier than the disaster hit. The firm is over a century outdated, and the label’s well-known snow-cap emblem is stamped on merchandise starting from leather-based items to writing devices and watches. It felt like a extra international strategy was wanted.
This story first appeared within the April 7, 2021 situation of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“What is important is to understand the brand — and that is why, more and more, we are working on brand topics…not just every category being played as a silo,” mentioned Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc’s chief govt officer, chatting with WWD by way of Zoom.
“That way it can be much more powerful,” he added.
“How can we rethink Montblanc as a global luxury business maison and go out of the very silo approach where I talk about writing instruments in one way, or watches in another way, or leather goods — and how do I convey ‘What is Montblanc about?’ and ‘How is Montblanc this amazing luxury business lifestyle maison?’ and how to convey that spirit,” Baretzki recalled considering.
The model, which belongs to Compagnie Financière Richemont, signaled its new label-driven strategy with a world marketing campaign final fall that includes filmmaker Spike Lee, actor Taron Egerton and singer, actor and author Chen Kun in minute-long movies reflecting on shifting work habits and measures of success. “What Moves You, Makes You,” goes the slogan.
“What is important to understand at Montblanc, we’re not fashion and not a marketing maison, we rely on either our own heritage — over 100 years old — that’s what we’re going to work on, that’s going to be a very strong brand theme,” he mentioned.
“At the same time [we] work on very authentic things,” he added.
“You don’t tell Spike Lee what he has to say,” famous the chief, citing the marketing campaign with Lee in addition to work with Italian explorer Reinhold Messner, recognized for climbing Mount Everest, as lending credibility.
At Watches and Wonders, the model is exhibiting an 1858 Geosphere watch in sandy colours, a restricted version meant to represent Messner’s solo trek throughout the Gobi desert in 2004. The panorama is depicted on the again in titanium, with laser engraving.
The Geosphere watch, in its fourth version, has turn out to be a hero product of the 1848 line, thanks partially to its distinctive options, mentioned Baretzki. The two spherical globes depicted on the face make it rapidly acknowledged, he added, lifting his wrist to indicate a blue-faced model of the watch.
The model is lowering inventory retaining models, specializing in fewer strains whereas emphasizing hero merchandise.
“We can say we make classic watches but we will create a strong way of differentiating them, and thanks to this, people will recognize the brand,” mentioned Laurent Lecamp, who was named director of Montblanc’s watchmaking division at the beginning of the yr. Lecamp began his profession at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton managing wines and spirits in Switzerland.
“This is my job today — how do we differentiate our products while maintaining a concept that dates back dozens of years or even a century,” defined Lecamp.
Montblanc executives have been energetic through the pandemic, pushing additional into digital channels by revamping its web site to be extra person pleasant — a brand new model might be launched within the coming months — and becoming a member of Tmall a yr in the past.
“We’ve been really using this time to accelerate and to focus more,” he added.
The Tmall partnership has helped the model recruit new shoppers in addition to deal with a youthful viewers, he mentioned, noting a powerful partnership with the Alibaba platform.