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WORLDWATCHWEB™ - SOCIAL MEDIA - From Education to Sales Generation, Watch Brands’ Digital Presence Peaks at Baselworld 2014

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June 2014


Social Media has altered the way brands are communicating with their customers, rapidly becoming a tool of choice to reach out and interact with them efficiently. Product launches, event coverage and celebrity endorsements are some of the key marketing techniques that are featured daily on all main social channels.

Baselworld has the unique ability (with SIHH) to unify all these elements in order to convey a clear brand value that is shared with the world. Even the most traditional of watch and jewellery brands are leveraging on social media to ensure the highest visibility possible and be desired by their aspirational clientele during the most important watch fair of the year. The digital world is gradually becoming a medium to touch base with professionals (even watch dealers.) Brand marketers are more and more conscious of this reality and are seriously investing in their digital presence (website, e-mail marketing, banner advertising and social media). Their ultimate objectives being to differentiate themselves, to increase brand awareness and their reach.

Rolex Facebook page cover picture posted on March 22nd 2014
Rolex Facebook page cover picture posted on March 22nd 2014

A few weeks before the world’s largest watch and jewellery trade show started, the social war had already begun on your screens. At Digital Luxury Group, we noticed (and managed), starting early March, numerous advertisements on Facebook’s News Feed by promoting watch and jewellery brands. They were hard to miss because of their frequency, creativity and precise audience targeting. In fact, if you came across one yourself, it was not a coincidence! Brands are targeting their audience by market (ie: USA, Russia, etc.) and by interest (ie: Hublot, Harry Winston, etc.). Social Media offers unique and cost effective techniques to reach markets in both B2B and B2C audiences.

Maurice Lacroix unveiled one model per day with several curated posts and updated their cover photo daily to ensure recurrent interest and interactions on the page
Maurice Lacroix unveiled one model per day with several curated posts and updated their cover photo daily to ensure recurrent interest and interactions on the page

Once again, visual content has proven itself the most efficient way to raise awareness during Baselworld. Facebook and Instagram have remained the most used platforms by brands during the fair.
Until last year, Patek Philippe and Rolex were the only two major watchmakers lacking a presence on Facebook. In April 2013, Rolex finally started an official page and accumulated nearly half a million fans in just a couple of weeks. Today, the Rolex page counts more than 2 million likes, a much wider audience than brands such as Omega (600,000 fans), IWC (700,000 fans) and TAG Heuer (1.8m fans), which have been present on Facebook for several years.

Although Rolex still uses Facebook extremely carefully (not more than 3 posts per month), during Baselworld 2014 the brand posted, on a daily basis, its novelties. This very basic indicator illustrates the industry traction generated at this very special time of the year and how strategic Facebook remains, even for the most iconic brand of the industry.
All brands present at Baselworld did their best to engage with their audience and ensure their fans were “educated” directly from their Facebook pages. While watch aficionados preferred to refer to unbiased media sources such as Hodinkee and aBlogtoWatch, the aspirational clientele mainly used Facebook and Instagram to follow brands and discover the novelties.

Although Facebook remains the most used social platform, its younger sister Instagram (the mobile application designed for easy photo sharing and acquired by Facebook in 2012,) has grown significantly over the last year, counting, as of April 2014, more than 200 million active users. The top 40 watch brands regrouped nearly 4 million followers on Instagram and engagement is considerably higher than on Facebook (1.77% vs. 0.6%).

Instagram thoroughly defeats Facebook in engagement rate
Instagram thoroughly defeats Facebook in engagement rate
  • Brands regrouped nearly 3.4 million fans on Instagram.
  • Audemars Piguet generated the highest engagement with an average of 5.7% whilst Hublot led with the highest number of fans (117K)
  • Instagram thoroughly defeated Facebook with nearly 3 times the average engagement rate.

Jan.2013 – Dec. 2013 Not taking into account Couture category brands and Tiffany & Co

On Instagram, brands are communicating through pictures and engaging their audiences through hashtags (#). The purpose of hashtags is to categorize images and make them searchable to increase association with a topic and/or an interest. The first time the #Baselworld hashtag was used was on March 25th, 2011. The hashtag now counts more than 27,000 publications.

We have noticed an exponential growth of usage within the last 3 editions:

- #Baselworld2012 = 139 publications
- #Baselworld2013 = 3,983 publications
- #Baselworld2014 = 12,068 publications

How many publications will there be next year for #Baselworld2015?
40,000? More?
A brand is built by people talking and sharing, which is exactly what social media is about. All brands need to be part of the conversation especially when it comes to promoting themselves and ensure they reach a qualified audience. Most European companies have generated new customers via social platforms and this will not stop.

WORLDWATCHWEB™ - SOCIAL MEDIA - From Education to Sales Generation, Watch Brands' Digital Presence Peaks at Baselworld 2014 WORLDWATCHWEB™ - SOCIAL MEDIA - From Education to Sales Generation, Watch Brands' Digital Presence Peaks at Baselworld 2014 WORLDWATCHWEB™ - SOCIAL MEDIA - From Education to Sales Generation, Watch Brands' Digital Presence Peaks at Baselworld 2014

“Social Media has become a priority tool to create desirability among new customers and reinforce the emotional link with existing clients. The correlation between a brand’s social performance, its story-telling and sales is now indisputable.” Xavier Robert, International Brand Manager at Maurice Lacroix (a client of Digital Luxury Group).

The main questions raised from a professional standpoint are: What will be, in the coming years, the most efficient platforms when it comes to generating sales? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Foursquare, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. without mentioning the Chinese platforms! How many of them can a single brand effectively handle? Stay tuned!

Source: Europa Star June - July 2014 Magazine Issue