A Handwritten Note Is the Ultimate in Luxury Communications
Stationery Enhances the Luxury of a Hand-Written Note
A handwritten note is the ultimate in luxury communications
Recently, I received a note from Kevin Blackford, the postmaster in Stuarts Draft, VA, who told me about their “Letter Is Better” project aimed at young people to encourage letter-writing. The project provides school children with stamped envelopes so that they can write and mail a letter to a close friend or family member. The response from both the students and the letter recipients has been “amazing and heartwarming,” he says, and I hope that this starts a lifetime of letter-writing for these students.
With net books, smart phones, and iPads continually at our fingertips, vying for our attention (and investment!), I have realized that perhaps the ultimate in communications luxury is the handwritten letter. Taking a few minutes to enjoy the experience of putting pen to paper and create an entirely original piece of communications is a time-honored practice that is gaining in popularity and importance.
Take, for example, the “52 Weeks, 52 Letters” project that is sweeping the blogosphere. Bloggers – who perhaps, more than any other group, communicate effectively online – are embracing the challenge to send a piece of “real mail” a week throughout 2011. Then, they are returning online to blog about their experiences using beautiful stationery, inherited fountain pens, or simply postcards picked up at the local store. In this case, the medium is as much an individual expression as the message.
Marketers are taking notice: fine stationery enhances the luxury experience of letter writing
I’m not surprised to see a resurgence in interest in letter-writing. Our recent Greeting Card, Stationery, Gift Wrap and Party Goods and Paper Gifting Market Report uncovered a counter-trend back from electronic messaging toward paper greetings. There is a small, but growing segment of consumers who recognize the unique value and power of a hand-written letter or personalized note.
The craving for individual communication is particularly acute among those who appear at home online. One might have 350 ‘friends’ on Facebook, but only a handful that really count. They are the ones that more people in the social media generation are reaching out to with a personalized, hand-written greeting.
This is an opportunity for luxury marketers. Recently, J. Crew announced it is partnering with Connor Fine Engraver and Stationer to sell an exclusive line of engraved stationery at its Madison Avenue J. Crew bridal boutique. Priced at $75 for 12 all-cotton note cards, it is quite luxurious. However, I don’t think the potential for the upscale stationery market is limited to the needs of brides sending invitations and thank-yous. There are tremendous opportunities here to offer products to a wide range of income levels in a variety of styles. The secret is to make both the letter writer and recipient feel the luxury of a unique, personal communication.
It is that luxury experience that will keep the current generation of letter-writers from treating stationery as just another commodity to pick up on the cheap to handle routine correspondence. The key is offering this generation superb high-quality stationery and embellishments that expresses their individual styles and makes them feel special. And when that card or letter appears in the mailbox among stacks of bills and anonymous direct mailers, it may well inspire the recipient to write a letter of his or her own, surely the ultimate communications luxury.