his umpteenth “Instagram Live” session was a replay of what is by now a very familiar scenario. A brand sets up a session to present its new products via the watch world’s favourite social network. The brand has more than 100,000 subscribers on its official account. But, even though the programme looks pretty interesting, we can’t help noticing that this online event attracts barely... thirty followers.
Unlike an official press conference, the “guests” can of course come and go as they please. But the purpose of these presentations is not so much to talk to journalists, retailers or other intermediaries, but to reach end customers. This is the much-vaunted power of social networks: direct contact with the collector, the aficionado, the amateur, the potential customer. But the results seem very mediocre, despite the efforts invested in promoting and staging the events.
“Instagram is a formidable tool for the watch industry. But its much more frequent use in recent months also reveals its limits.”
The fragility of digital supremacy
Instagram is a formidable tool for the watch industry. The social network has provided a means of maintaining dialogue in these times of lockdown and social distancing. But its much more frequent use in recent months has also revealed its limitations: communities of fans – real or imaginary – that aren’t really listening; messages quickly dispensed and as quickly forgotten; and a multiplication of interventions which, by repeating the same content on different channels, makes the whole experience far from “special” for users, and a lot less exclusive than many brands would like.
“2020 has highlighted both the omnipotence of social networks and their many shortcomings, in particular the fleeting nature of the messages they deliver.”
The brands that seem to be winning the globalisation game are those that base their approach on maintaining a careful balance between the different channels available: digital, physical, direct contact, intermediaries. 2020 has highlighted both the omnipotence of social networks and their many shortcomings, in particular the fleeting nature of the messages they deliver.
Social networks are like a raging torrent that submerges everything in its path. The watch industry’s ecosystem, which explores the mechanics of time, also needs its lakes and ponds, its meanders and backwaters, whose more soothing ebb and flow are more conducive to contemplation.