Marketing Superstars: Interview with Magnus Jonnson, CMO of A.T. Cross



For nearly 170 years, A.T. Cross has been a symbol of luxury, achievement, and societal excellence. Now, as technology takes over and the days of seeing the written word become arguably numbered, CMO Magnus Jonsson turns his focus to keeping Cross Pens relevant in the digital age.

The brand is built on a strong foundation of four fundamental pillars: the penholder’s personal success, the brand’s entrepreneurial spirit, the usable luxury of their writing instruments, and a history of inspired ingenuity. Among beautiful, jewel encrusted original pens and a limited edition Star Wars themed collection, Cross also offers an assortment of styluses for tablets and smartphones, a nod to the digital world that Jonsson says accounts for 12% of the brand’s profit. With those tools at its disposal, Cross is focused on bridging the gap between the generation that knows and loves these luxurious pens and the younger group of millennials, who may not have heard of the brand, but can appreciate a luxurious, contemporary experience that allows for personal expression.

As CMO, Jonsson places heavy importance on bringing consumers an authentic experience, one they can see themselves in and relate to. To accomplish this, he tapped influencers with a love for writing — songwriters, essayists, street artists, and screenwriters — to help Cross get the message across to consumers on social media.

“Instead of just having the brand talk about how it would like to be perceived in the marketplace, it’s more important to have these influencers portray us in the right way because that’s more believable for the target consumer and certainly more authentic for the brand,” Jonsson said. “These are real people in their craft, all people in pursuit of greatness.”

Other highlights from this week’s episode of Marketing Superstars include:

Surveying your brand landscape through a demand perspective (9:33)
Advertising across different platforms (19:00)
Your consumers as spokespeople (23:15)

Cross also sees their own consumers as influencers; they recently launched a social media campaign on their website that incorporates user-generated content, like Instagrams featuring the pens, aimed at documenting the customer’s branded experiences.