Sunday, August 28, 2016

How David is Kicking Goliath's Ass - Or what micro brands could teach the big dogs

Now you might recall back in the early days of Tempus Fugit I waxed lyrical as to the difference between real brands and "vanity" or "dentist" brands.  My point being that there was a clear difference between what a real brand did and what a "hobbyist" did.  Well, I am about to take almost all of that back, with the caveat that there is indeed a difference between what a big brand does vs. what a hobbyist does - but perhaps not in the manner that you might think.

Over the past few years there have been an overwhelming number of watch start-ups out there vying for our attention via Facebook, Kickstarter and just about every other means of social media engagement.  In doing some research for a few clients, I got to 85 and had to quit because the number of micro brands that I had not yet listed far exceeded the 85 that I already had committed to my Excel spreadsheet.  It is safe to say that there will be no shortage of micro brand start ups in the foreseeable future.

In an interesting parallel, the number of "big boy" brands that are out there has begun to stagnate, and we will, I am fairly certain, see some unhappy "obituary" announcements in the coming months.  While it is a bit of a necessity to adjust the sails of your boat to accommodate the prevailing winds, many of the bigger brands are still sailing along as if the winds are wrong, and only they are right, and they are getting closer to the rocks every day.

What the micro brands demonstrate loud and clear is perhaps the most important idea that the other "established" brands don't seem to understand:

Connecting to your customer is fundamental.  

This is, believe it or not, the single biggest take away from the explosions of micro brands.  Think about it a minute, how is it that someone from outside of the industry, working (usually) completely alone can harness a few hundred strangers from out in the cold to get excited about a watch that doesn't yet exist, from a brand that (at least in the beginning) is nothing more than hope and optimism?

And I'm sure that the big brands are thinking who cares?  Small numbers!  Well, If I just go by some basic presumptions:

Let's, for the purposes of argument, assume that the total number of active micro brands out there is 100.  And again, just spit-balling here, put the number of units sold annually at 100 each.  So now that you have done the math, it is safe to assume that is a pretty good number.

And keep in mind that these folks are doing this without multiple layers of VPs, directors, managers, staffers and interns.  Several brands would kill to get 10,000 new customers, and they have more resources than can be imagined.  Yet they are still unable to focus on the most important thing that drives the possible growth of their business - connecting with past, current and future customers.

Let's see if any of the bigger brands are paying attention, or if they are asleep at the switch.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer Re-run The Power of a Good Deed - Tag Heuer

As mentioned, I try to give credit where credit is due, and this was a big one deserving a lot of credit last year.  It will be a tough one to top, but in looking back, it was one instance where Tag Heuer really showed some exemplary corporate citizenship.  Let's hope they come up with something equally good this year.

This was originally published August 6, 2015 

Apparently Santa Claus Works for Tag Heuer!

Remember the excitingly refreshing news that news was this AM that Tag Heuer ambassador Cara Delevingne 
was auctioning off her prototype model to benefit WildCRU?
Courtesy of Tag Heuer
I don't know about the rest of you, but I had a "warm & fuzzy" feeling all morning.  And then it got even BETTER!

I will simply quote Tag Heuer's statement:

Inspired by our friend Cara Delevingne! TAG Heuer supports this great social cause and will match the amount raised from Cara’s auction to LET'S JOIN FORCES!

YES - you read that correctly, Tag Heuer will MATCH the amount raised from the Ebay auction for wildCRU and Cecil!!!


And no - they have not (at least as far as I know) sent a press release, just a quiet little comment.  

Well, if they aren't going to shout it to the public, I certainly am!  

Drop your favorite Tag Heur rep, agent, pr person or CEO a thank you note!  And remember, you'll always recognize Santa Clause - wearing Red and White, and apparently GREEN as well!

Well Done Tag Heuer and Cara Delevingne!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When It Rains...

It pours!

This just in from the Foundation for Truly Dubious Marketing / Product Choices -

Courtesy of Omega

Omega is, apparently, concerned that you aren't spending enough on their watches,  or maybe their cologne -

Shamelessly borrowed from the info web

 So if you are, in fact, enamored with all things OMEGA, and you've already applied the Aqua Terra and smell of a freshly serviced co-axial escapement, then dash down to the boutique to get a pair of these fetching shades!  I myself am a Persol guy, so there you go.
Courtesy of Omega
Here's the scoop, straight from the source.  If I keep getting goofball marketing ideas like this in the in-box, I may start "morning drinking".

; )

Made in partnership with Marcolin Eyewear in Italy, the collection takes inspiration from OMEGA’ iconic history combining exquisite quality and craftsmanship for a luxurious finish.
Identifiable features include the iconic claws of the Constellation watch, flexible hinges that resemble a watch crown, and the shiny black finish from the Dark Side of the Moon collection.
The collection includes various styles with high quality, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective lenses.  The OMEGA logo is engraved on the lenses, nose pads and facetted temple tips.
Each pair is presented in a hard shell case with Zebrawood, reminiscent of the interior of OMEGA’ prestigious boutiques. Included are a microfiber pouch and an alternative carry case option.
The collection will arrive in boutiques at the end of August

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fear of Failure

With today's latest report on the export numbers, I thought I'd simply leave you with another quote from Moneyball -

“Managers tend to pick a strategy that is the least likely to fail, rather than to pick a strategy that is most efficient," Said Palmer. " The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move.” 
― Michael LewisMoneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

A Modest Proposal

This was an open letter that was sent out to members of the watch industry.  As it also concerns you the readers, I wanted to share it with you as well.

If you are reading this you either:

A.  Work in the watch industry
B.  Are a watch enthusiast
C.  Suffer from chronic insomnia

In fairness, those are three good demographics and I feel confident that any blogger or online magazine would be thrilled to have them.  But over the past few months I have personally come to question the manner with which some brands operate.  Moreover, I am becoming more an more disillusioned by the way other digital and print media outlets operate.

Some simple truths:

1.  Brands shouldn't have to pay a backhander for coverage, regardless of how rich they are or how often they do it.
REALITY - many do, which forces the smaller brands to pay as well even though they often can't afford it.

2.  Brands shouldn't pull a "Trump" on writers and outlets out of retribution for what they feel is unflattering coverage.
REALITY - but they often do.

3.  Writers, bloggers, influencers should not charge fees for service to anyone but their employer -  i.e. the website management, the magazine publisher, etc.  "Paid" or "Sponsored" content is just another name for payola.
REALITY - more and more "sponsored content" is appearing.

4.  Writers, bloggers, influences should not feel required to cover a brand.
REALITY - The brands exert pressure, pander to the writers they feel are important, and often show a great deal of bias.  Owing to this, a lot of writers end up out of the loop, and in the end opt not to cover the brand.

So, after a great deal of thought I have decided to make some changes.  You will notice over the next few months that no new advertisers will be added.  Moreover, you will also notice that one by one, advertiser's banners will be coming down as their contracts finish up.  The exception to this is the top banner.  The top banner holder will only receive "standard" coverage, and none of their products will be accepted to review.

Over the course of the past 6 years I have been continually baffled, surprised and amazed by the luxury industry and its relationship with writers.  In the auto industry, it is pretty much expected that car reviews will be brutally and sometimes scaldingly honest.  Why should the watch business be different?

So here's the deal:

1.  As of today, no new advertisers will be brought in.
2.  Current advertisers will stay on through the course of their agreement.
3.  Tempus Fugit will continue to NOT accept any form of payment for content.  All content will be determined by yours truly.  You don't have to kiss my ring, but you do need to treat me with the same courtesy and respect as any of the other guys and gals who write about the industry.
4.  We are turning a brand new page - I hope that we are turning this page TOGETHER.  Meaning that if I have not covered your brand, for whatever reason, I would like to re-establish a relationship of mutual respect.  I want to cover your brand, but just as you should expect me to be fair and balanced, I will expect you to be fair and balanced in how you share news, etc.  Stop playing favorites.  Simple as that.
5.  I will continue to call it like I see it, which may sometimes be uncomfortable to read.  But I will also continue to promote you like crazy when I feel that you do something particularly good.  Jean-Claude Biver himself, if he is honest about it, would have to admit that while I have been critical of some decisions, mine is pretty much the only outlet to praise Hublot and Tag's charitable actions.

In the near future, a PayPal button will be added to the Tempus Fugit site for those who wish to donate to the upkeep.  Upkeep means paying for travel to BaselWorld, NYC for event coverage, etc.  So that we are all 100% clear I operate Tempus Fugit at a loss, and I do it because I ENJOY doing it.  I have a day job to pay for my dinner, Tempus Fugit is my dessert ; )

In closing, I would like to particularly thank those who have supported the blog through advertising.  You have made it much more doable, and I cannot thank you enough for the support!

Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you continue to do so.