Thursday, January 28, 2021

Who Moved My Gruyère?

So for those of you not familiar with Who Moved My Cheese? Allow me to fill in the gaps in your late 90s corporate education.  

Courtesy of Spencer Johnson via Wikipedia
The story involves two mice, and two "mini" humans. Spoiler alert, they traverse the halls of a corporate HQ searching for "Cheese Stations" where they can find... cheese. And yes, the halls are a metaphor not only for a maze that lab rats would run through, but also the "maze" that is navigating corporate life.  In the story the mice figure out pretty quickly that the cheese supply at a given station is about to be exhausted, so they take it on the arches and seek out new sources for cheese. The two "mini" humans keep eating the cheese until it is pretty much exhausted, and then begin blaming each other for their fate. Eventually one of the "minis" slings his hook and strikes out in search of as yet untapped cheese stations, leaving the "stuck in his ways" colleague behind.

Spoiler alert part deux - the intrepid "mini" human struggles, but eventually discovers more cheese and in the process unfurls a thesis on change and adaptability that would make a Harvard Business School professor proud.  And I thought today, after reading the latest "falsely rosy" outlook from the FH on the truly stinky export figures, I thought we could air out Who Moved My Cheese for the big dogs in Watch Town.  To wit, I present:
Who Moved My Gruyère?
Change Happens
They Keep Moving The Gruyère.
So maybe Watch Town should respond with a different approach than the same one they always try. And this is true at every level:
1. Brands - stop putting all of your eggs in the same basket in terms of retail and marketing. Take the time to actually do some research. Also, take the time to develop relationships with media outlets beyond paying three or four of them and ignoring the rest. Beyond marketing - play fair with your retail partners. Stop selling directly to the grey market, and stop dumping loyal, independent retailers who actually pay their bills in favor of large chains.
2.  Media - take a moment and try to remember what got you into covering watches in the first place. Content is what is (apart from click farms) going to drive traffic and engage readers. 

Anticipate Change
Brands - If you dump your loyal retail partners and the "volunteer" media that so loyal supported you for free, be prepared for the reality when your budgets shrink to the point where you have to cut your advertising. 
Media - If you paint yourself into the pay-to-play corner that is payola, be prepared for fewer and fewer brands to have "cheese" for you.

Monitor Change
A read of the latest FH is actually sorta' comical when it really should be a grave bellwether. Change has been churning in Watch Town for the past 5 years, but it is also clear that Watch Town. has not always had their eyes on the prize. Referring to the latest export numbers as a less marked decline is about as accurate as being "a little bit pregnant.

Adapt To Change Quickly
Unfortunately, not everyone's idea of quick is the same, and sometimes a brand can go back to the well one too many times. A quick example - maybe dropping boatloads of cash on an American football player is perhaps not the most "transmittable" idea for an international clientele to get their heads around. This was maybe not the most realistic or well thought out approach to help your retail partners (even the ones in North America "reach their star" - wherever the hell their star may be. In fairness to Zenith, this is straight out of the LVMH playbook. But it is myopic. It looks good to a handful of people, but it fails to take into account that Zenith has been and will continue to be a brand that is unlikely to ever have the mass appeal in North America of TAG Heuer or even Hublot. And in all honesty, without Biver pushing, the celebrity partner game is a tough sled.

Move With the Gruyère!

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Enjoy Change!
Let's be honest - what other options do you have? Yes, Italian sports cars dressed up as company cars and performance bonuses based on, essentially doing nothing are great! But when you brand is losing money hand over fist, year upon year? Look for a vintage Yugo and live within your limits.

Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again
They Keep Moving The Gruyère. Just ask Aaron Rodgers...
Sorry, too soon?
Editor's note - Henki is actually a pretty big fan of Aaron Rodgers and takes pains to point out that he is one of the few big time quarterbacks to emerge from a JUCO (Junior College) to not only play Division 1 (at California) but move on to a very successful pro career. Henki's point is simply this - CURRENT pro athletes are always a tough sell, but those who have played and are still relevant after their playing, driving, skiing, running days are over?  Well that's something else again.  Sabrina MacIntosh - Senior Editor

No comments:

Post a Comment