Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What Barry Hearn Could Teach the Watch Industry - 2

To paraphrase Mr. Hearn's second rule:

2.     Do not leave your brain in the factory parking lot

Many "sensible" people lose their way when they get into the watch business.  I get the press releases every day - "years of success and experience in industry X", "excited to join the exciting and glamorous world of Haute Horology"...

Remember Thierry Nataf?  His tenure at Zenith is a case study underscoring the importance of not leaving your brain in the factory parking lot.  He had been successful in the champagne business.  He looked the part - sharp suit, bright eyed and focused.  But as things progressed, the excitement of running a watch brand, the celebrities, the media attention, all of this proved (in the end) a major distraction.  Now to be very, very clear - in the "if it bleeds it leads" school of watch marketing, you have to give the Nataf era Zenith full marks.  It was EVERYWHERE.  But it was not sustainable.  

Despite what we would like to think, the watch business is in some ways no different than any other. Things do not happen overnight.  It takes time for them to develop.  But this oftentimes gets lost in the hype.

The watch business is a wasteland of people at every level (retailer, distributor, national brand manager, CEO, owner) who have built up business success in other areas, and managed to squander the company's, or family's money chasing the dream of being the next Tourneau, Hublot, Rolex or Omega.  The unshakable belief that the next celebrity partner, the newest boutique, the latest advertising campaign will make it happen.  It seldom does.

You have to be sensible - and make sure that you do not leave your brain in the factory parking lot.

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