Pen maker Uniball writes new chapter as Uni
In an effort to distinguish and reinvigorate its brand in a rarely-disrupted category, Uniball today announced it is rebranding under the new name Uni.
Uniball, the writing instruments company whose portfolio of brands include Uniball, Posca and Emott, today unveiled a full rebrand, including a name change. The brand will be called Uni from now on, stylized in all lowercase letters.
Uniball was first introduced in 1979 as a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Pencil Company Limited – a Tokyo-based organization that dates back to 1887. Uniball began as a rollerball pen brand, eventually expanding into a range of pens, pencils, markers and other tools.
Alongside its name change, the organization is undergoing a full rebrand and is launching a new omnichannel strategy to support its global growth. The company’s president Mike Parker said the brand hopes to be “a platform for creativity and connection” that will “enrich lives and unify people.”
To publicize this vision, Uni is debuting a new US campaign, developed in partnership with Media.Monks, called ‘Start Your Story.’ “The vision for this campaign is to celebrate and empower people to take control of their personal journeys,” said Parker. “If we know anything after 135 years of business success, it is that where creativity and connection exist, vitality and growth are sure to follow. We celebrate the opportunity to deliver the tools and solutions that foster this type of personal and professional flourishing.”
The campaign centers on first-person stories of individuals who “put pen to paper to create a new future for themselves,” spotlighting the “real impact Uni products have on the people behind the pens,” said Media.Monks’ New York creative director Jessica Stewart.
It’s a metaphor that rings true for the company itself too. “Much like the brand itself,” Stewart added, “this reinvention [spotlighted in the ‘Start Your Story’ campaign] is only the start of what’s possible when you have the right tools in hand.” Indeed, after ending a long-term distribution agreement with Newell Brands in 2019, the pen manufacturer is looking to forge a new future for itself. The rebrand aims to help it do so.
And it’s no small task; Stewart admitted that the category as a whole is “often lacking in meaningful differentiation.” In launching the rebrand and new campaign, she said, the goal was to break through the tiredness and “establish stronger relationships with consumers by being a force that inspires creativity and connection.”
It’s an opportune time for the rebrand too; the company has seen impressive growth of late, and expects its North American business to nearly double from 2020 to 2025, reaching an estimated $120m. The company has expressed that it is not threatened by ongoing digitization, as growth in the digital tablet market has essentially plateaued, while subcategories in the writing and arts and crafts industries have seen steady growth.
Uni’s growth strategy will focus primarily on new market segments and areas of growing consumer demand; it is investing heavily in new designs and new ink formulations, as well as product innovations such as self-sharpening pencils.