Student English Newspaper

How Did Mitsubishi Pencil’s Jetstream Write its Own Blueprint for Success? -Prospects for Global Challenges-

Jetstream is an internationally acclaimed Japanese oil-based ballpoint pen produced by Mitsubishi Pencil Company. Its trademarks are their quality and relative expensiveness. Now, these are some controversial properties in contrast to the precedent oil-based pens. Oil-based pens were generally embedded with the idea of being a cheap, cut-priced item. Such an idea was practiced under the mass production style in China, along with the worldwide dispersion by brands such as “BIC” in Europe and The U.S. 

 So then, how has the ‘uneconomical’ Jetstream made its way into the highly competitive, pre-dominated international market? Two factors – the impressive quality of the pen, and the company’s profound marketing strategy are its reasons. 

 First, the oil-based pen Jetstream has a distinctive smoothness. Its remarkably light writing- similar to water-based pen has captivated Asian markets, where many populations write intricate characters daily. Even in the U.S., where knock-type gel ink ballpoint pen holds the basic share for oil-based pens, Jetstream holds a respectable reputation for its ironically smooth writability.

 Second, Mitsubishi Pencil’s marketing strategy discredits “Mass and cheap production”—They emphasize creating and developing products that establish brand-new consumer values. This incited the creation of Jetstream itself. Around 5% of their profits are provided invariably for their technology-related investments. Such a number is comparably high, and their devotion to offering something new and cutting the edge is what sets them apart from other companies.

 Given the two points, Jetstream has become one of the globally well-known products of the Mitsubishi Pencil to this day. 

 However, it must be remembered that before its success, its global market sales were not exactly as “smooth” as the pen itself. As previously mentioned, oil-based ballpoint has been commonly accepted as a basic, non-descriptive commodity. Thus, Mitsubishi Pencil faced endeavors to incite a new quality to the oil-based ballpoint that Jetstream would bring to the market and retailers.

 Furthermore, the whole exceptional property of the iconic pen- the smoothness was never communicated enough in places where stores do not provide customers with tryouts before purchasing, mostly in European and U.S. markets. Encountering these difficulties, the company has organized accommodating marketing strategies for every different region while unfailingly delivering consistent fundamental brand principles. Catch copies, for instance, are domestically advertised as 「クセになる、なめらかな書き味。」 in anglophone regions, Addicting Smooooooothness is the phrase, which the two are quite identical in translation.   Furthermore, under this pandemic, Mitsubishi Pencil is strengthening its digital sales. Utilizing social media and engaging with customers online, the company strives to enlarge its market sales and brand recognition.  

Future Outlooks of Mitsubishi Pencil

In retrospect, we have seen the worldwide success of Jetstream and the company itself. Now, there comes the next big question: How does Mitsubishi Pencil envision its future?

 On the latest record, Asian markets make up around 30% of their overseas sales. Markedly, those are specifically the areas that are increasing its growth in general, and this is an opportunity that cannot be missed for any kind of business. Especially when the Japanese domestic market is on downhill, Mitsubishi Pencil is determined to find out and tailor to specific needs to gain new loyal customers, utilizing the perks of having a favorable reputation and trust. 

 Furthermore, they take into account the situationally demanded products as well. For example, paint markers are one of the essential components in the process of car manufacturing; thus, paint markers are especially well communicated in those thriving areas. Also, with the worldwide quarantine ongoing, there has popped out a new engagement toward creative indoor activities. Since then, recreational drawing and writing have gained a lot of attention. Together with its keen emphasis on its digital platforms, Mitsubishi Pencil has improved the sale of its other well-known product, Posuka. 

 As we can see, Mitsubishi Pencil Company aims to engage and maintain connections with its customers with utmost diligence. They identify needs, and demands and adjust them

accordingly. We also cannot forget their deep investment in combining the latest technology which is the heart of their creative creations. Truly their passion is something to be admired, and it surely would be a lost opportunity to miss out on what the company has to offer in the coming future. 

Written by Aya Nakao, Kotaro Miyake, Rei Watanabe and Mio Suzuki

*The interview was conducted in 2021

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