Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Say What?

Say What?

In fairness to the PR company charged with carrying the water for DOXA, they are merely doing what they have been retained to do.  But in all honesty, this has been one of the most curious pr campaigns many of us in the Fourth and Fifth Estates have seen in recent memory.

In the past few weeks many of us have received as many as three different press releases informing us that DOXA is new and improved with a crack team of people in the US being "managed" by the folks in Biel/Bienne.  Now after the second announcement, we get a third informing us that this tiger team will be based in Boca Raton, Florida.  With a phone number based somehow in, wait for it, the metro Tucson, Arizona area...  
Now I am not a geography expert, but let's just say that these two locations are not exactly around the corner from each other.  

And I have to be honest, this latest press release is starting to be reminiscent of the early days of the current US Presidential administration where the hapless Press Secretary was constantly spouting forth some pretty curious statements without any substance or points of clarity.  So we're going to unpack this latest release, with the questions that still remain unanswered.  Go get a coffee, take a bio-break, this will take a bit ; )

Encouraged by the excellent response from the markets, customers and media at this year’s Baselworld, the leadership at DOXA Watches is shifting the brand's international redeployment into high gear. 

Now I'd call that pretty generous.  
The majority of the press did not receive press invitations, and those who made their way to the booth were informed that there was, in essence, a new sherif in town.  Only a handful of people came back with much info.  The gold T-Graph and the new T-Graph were not not exactly the talk of the press room.  Actually, that's not fair.  The Gold T-Graph was a topic, but probably not in the way that the DOXA folks were hoping it to be.

DOXA Watches, based in Biel in the Canton of Berne, Switzerland, is a 100% subsidiary of Walca Group, an industrial company owned for more than 40 years by the Swiss Jenny family. Walca Group specializes in the development and manufacture of private label Swiss Made watches.  

Heading the leadership at DOXA Watches is Romeo F. Jenny, who represents the fourth generation of the family that owns the group and has entrusted the DOXA brand’s realignment and management to Jan Edöcs, Board Member of the Walca Group and CEO of DOXA Watches. 

As part of the first stage of the relaunch, all DOXA brand activities are now fully managed from Switzerland, which will enable a more streamlined, consistent and rapid reorganization process. 

Well, yes and no.  For the US market?  Let's hope you like Nutella, because I never got the impression that the Jenny's were big fans of peanut butter.  For those of you recently tuning in and not understanding the Tempus Fugit "Peanut Butter/Nutella" metaphor, let me quickly break it down for you.  Beyond language, every country has cultural differences, moreover every country has a different way that its potential customers "receive" the message.  Having your sales team (whoever that is, but more on that in a few minutes) based in the US is standard for any brand.  The key?  Are they confident enough to tell you that your marketing approach is jacked-up, or are they nodding along in the hopes of remaining employed?
There is a reason why we prefer peanut butter.  And unless a Swiss brand understands this, their messaging is going to miss the mark.

With regard to distribution, all markets, without exception, will operate and grow under the direct responsibility of the General Management in Switzerland, which will ensure consistency and cohesiveness across all activities. The brand’s presence in the United States, historically a key market, will be significantly reinforced with the opening of a North American (Canada and USA) subsidiary in Boca Raton, Florida, and the recruitment of a team entirely dedicated to the brand.

Ah-hah!  Now readers of the previous release will be forgiven for assuming that, in fact, this tiger team had already been recruited, screened, hired and onboarded.  In fact, apparently not so much.  For those of you who missed it -

Our dedicated team in the United States under the direct management of HQ in Switzerland will be happy to help and answer any queries.
So per today's press release, we'll interpret that to mean the "soon to be" team. You either have a team, or you don't. You don't get a little bit pregnant, and "I'mgonnastan" is not the most advantageous business residence.   And this raises other questions -
who will be heading this subsidiary?
That would be reasonable thing to have ironed out given that the North American HQ location has been determined. And by making this announcement, it will ease a lot of anxiety amongst DOXA-Holics out there.

Building on the redeployment in North America market, Doxa Watches will consolidate the English-speaking market universe by opening two new distributorships: in the UK and Australia. The two distributors DOXA is partnering with are intimately familiar with the brand and have a strong marketing presence in their respective territories. These markets are very promising for the brand’s legendary SUB collections. 

Once again - 

Elsewhere in the world, the brand is established in Hong Kong and China, as well as in Central Europe, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, and its strong presence in these markets will enable DOXA to further capitalize on what’s been achieved so far. 

Yeah, I wouldn't be counting on too many sales out of Hong Kong for the foreseeable.  Now if DOXA were a bigger name, they could at least count on trans-shipping via Hong Kong to Singapore and other locations to move product.  If the word around the campfire is to be believed, there is not going to be much happening in Hong Kong for the next several months - which might as well mean the rest of the year.

DOXA Watches also plans to reinforce its position with a dedicated organization in Germany to facilitate direct access to European customers. The Swiss domestic market will naturally also benefit from a strengthened distribution structure. 
With regard to collections, the massive success of the new products launched at Baselworld 2019...

Sorry, what?  I was there, and fellow press people came to me personally to ask me not about the amazing new products, but rather, "what the f*&k is going on?"  

...has accelerated a major overhaul in recent months. Streamlining the collections, reducing the number of references, delving deeper into the brand's DNA and focusing on the legendary SUB concept, have been the focus of DOXA Watches’ development team. 

Sorry, calling bullshit on this one.  Plans are not simply improvised over a 30 - 60 day time frame.  I think it is reasonable to assume that these plans have been in place for some time. And again, given the very small amount of press that came out post BaselWorld, I find that statement a wee bit disingenuous.  

Announcing a new evolution of the DOXA SUB concept: from now on, all the iconic SUB models (42mm and 45mm as well as the SUB 200) will systematically be available as non-limited series in all 6 historical dial colors – orange of course, but also yellow, navy blue, turquoise, silver and black. 
With regard to limited editions, DOXA Watches will continue to introduce special models such as the famous SUB 200 T.GRAPH, though in a more exclusive context and in smaller production runs than in the past. 

Finally, to address the changes made on the marketing front, DOXA watches is proud to surface with a new international identity, ensuring a clear, crisp and consistent brand image throughout the world. Faithful to the brand's DNA: a new logo to express the DOXA spirit; a new communication campaign with a new claim #YourCalltoAdventure to capture the imagination; a new website for better, easier and more rewarding brand access; and new social networks, now active under the DoxaWatchesOfficial identity, to engage and exchange among fans.

And this last passage?  I don't have the time or the intestinal fortitude to delve any further.  And I have a shiny new penny for anyone who can tell me just what is meant by:
"more rewarding brand access".  Does this mean there's going to be some sort of "points club" like at CVS or Safeway where I can get my watch at a reduced price?  Needless to say, English can be a funny language... 

Simply telling the press again, and again, and again how great this new structure is going to be is a bit backwards, I'm sorry, but don't keep telling us.  

Show us.


  1. Did we get an answer as to why their number is based in Tuscon?

    1. We did not, but my best guess is that they have an independent contractor based there and that person is the one answering the phones, etc.