Filofax’s branding – notice anything?

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I was marvelling at the two top photographs on the Filofax.co.uk website yesterday, thinking how well they have managed to rebrand themselves from an analogue company in a digital world. The photograph with the pink Original just makes you want to be that woman – trendy, bright – and out shopping! It makes me want to run out and buy a pink Original so I can have that woman’s life. And isn’t that what branding and advertising is all about?

But then I noticed the second picture, and below it were these:

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Is it just me who feels that the offerings for the men out there (the traditional users of Filofaxes in the past) are rather slim? Even the community is almost exclusively female (if you exclude the ubiquitous Steve Morton, the hardy stalwart who is everywhere there is Filofax and who keeps the Filofax flag flying high). Even in the Facebook groups about 95% of the membership is female. So my question is – why? Has Filofax chosen to go the path towards women’s fashion accessories because that is where the market lies and they have more spending power than men, or have men deserted the brand?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

17 thoughts

  1. My husband refuses to use a planner or calendar at all. He says Outlook is enough for him. (He doesn’t even want or have a smart phone.) He NEEDS one. He forgets everything. But you’d think I was asking him to wear frilly pink underthings, if you saw his reaction to the suggestion of a planner. :/

    http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.com

  2. I’m going to keep a narrow focus here and just look at The Original in Personal size. Yes, it is available in pinks and purple and orange which are probably aimed mostly at the female market. However, it is also available in black, a nice traditional school satchel shade of brown, and a hunter green – all colours which even the most sober gentleman would be happy to sport. It isn’t even too much of a stretch to imagine a man with the yellow colourway (and he would probably be the one we would all want to hang out with).

    So move right along folks, there isn’t any battle of the sexes going on here – just us people and our Filofaxes, all created equal.

    1. I thought the black was patent leather. I have the brown in personal & A5 and I have toyed with getting the green, which I thought were the only two that were not either Flouro or Patent.

    2. I’m not even sure if colorways is even THE consideration; Men are wearing splashy-er colors these days and I think that planners need not be somber to appeal to men. But there is something about the style and marketing.

      Honestly, from the current lineup the only binder which is appealing at all to me is the Original in the flouro pink color, and mostly for the color. I love it.

  3. I have and use a lot of Filofaxes and all that I continue to use are past models with my current ones for sale. Almost all are in the traditional “masculine” colours of black, brown and burgundy. Among the current line, I think the Holborn and Boston were seen as being male-friendly. I like the Holborn but the Boston seemed to “squishy”.

      1. The Eton has a softer touch-feel but I would say they are about equally squishy.

  4. I have used a Filofax (black Winchester Personal) since 1992. I do not use washi tape, stickers or any other “cute” embellishments. It is not for me. It is my agenda along with my BlackBerry. I feel that Filofax made a decision (wrong in my mind) to cater to a young, female customer. I am female but not young in years (young in mind LOL). There is very little in the binder/refill lines that would appeal to men. I just recently purchased an A5 Kendal from a friend (dark brown oiled leather). Sadly, they have turned the Filofax into a cute fashion item. I prefer my old, plain Winchester! Just my 2 cents Canadian. 🙂 To each his/her own!

    1. I was fascinated when I joined the Facebook groups by how much decorating of Filofaxes goes on. Some look like works of art! It’s definitely not for me – I’m not even sure I know even now what washi tape is! And I’m a woman of a certain age (21 again!) I do have a bright orange Original, which I love, but I tend to use a purple Malden for everyday stuff.

  5. What about the Holborn?
    And there is the brown Original too.
    As a woman who runs as fast as possible in the opposite direction from anything purple of pink, I sympathise.
    Interestingly the same is true of Hobonichi covers. They uploaded the new selection on Feb 1st and the ones which are sold out are dark brown, dark red, dark brown and a sort of dark green/navy plaid. Pretty much everything else is quite girly.

  6. It’s interesting that when you see Filofax products mentioned in the media, that it’s almost always in women’s magazines. I wonder if the company does think that men are only interested in digital products. I’d like to know what market research they’ve done. I am a digital freak, with iPhone, iPad, Kindle et al glued to my hand, but I also adore Filofaxes and have more than 20! And I’ve only recently joined the Facebook groups, but they appear to be 99% female – so maybe Filofax are right!

  7. I can’t find a decent binder in the current line-up, especially not for use in a business setting. Right now, my rotation includes a Glenroyal, a vintage Filofax Portland and a Smythson, but nothing from the current Filofax range!

    I’ve used Personal sized organisers for more than twenty years, and will continue to do so, despite the dwindling options.

    Josh makes a good point: why can’t Filofax keep some timeless, classic designs in the line-up to broaden their appeal?

  8. I’ve thought about this quite a lot too. While it seems that, overall, mens’ usage of paper based “systems” is down, Levinger seems to be doing brisk business to men with its Circa system and, indeed, most of its product line looks to be more marketed towards men generally. So I don’t think that it is necessarily that there is no market; it is that Filofax is deliberately choosing to not market to men. I personally hate almost the entire product line on offer over the past couple of years; the last design which I really liked was the Kendal. It’s really rather frustrating; I’d think it would not cost Filofax much to maintain a couple of masculine entries, such as the Cavendish, in the lineup on a permanent basis.

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