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I'm a PR professional going on 8 years, and it continues to baffle me with how miserable the watch industry is at promoting its own products. YouTube videos are hard to find, reviews are hard to find, webpages suck, news is hard to find... this kind of badness would get me fired if I promoted my products this poorly.
 

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If I were in charge of watch releases, every single model would get:

-A launch video on YouTube walking people through the case, movement, dial and any other value props
-A press release
-A corporate blog post with pictures, walkthrough, video, etc.
-Addition to my webpage with full specs, part numbers, high-res stock photography
-A new product review program (NPRP) cycle with media review samples and a target press list protected by an embargo date
-A comprehensive Q&A to answer potential questions about the product
-A twitter/facebook promotional campaign with a dedicated community manager to answer questions and provide support
-At least some sort of contest to build brand loyalty
-Flagship models would get a ballsy, high-profile stunt to attract attention of non-traditional watch press
-A press presentation to walk press through the product, with NDA press briefings by phone to educate reviewers on the product before their samples arrive


Essentially, I would craft a comprehensive go-to-market strategy for every single watch to ensure that enthusiasts obtain the media and answers they're demanding. The modern watchmaker's approach to media relations is just embarrassing; the fact that I can't find professional reviews or corp. walkthroughts for all sorts of popular watches speaks volumes for how behind the times the watch industry really is.
 

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Hah!

You would so fire me.

Maybe doing EVERYTHING above is a little overkill (or at least impractical for EVERY model), but in general I like the cut of your jib. I wish I had the scratch to hire a professional of your calibre.

Using my mobile; please pardon the brevity of my reply, and any typos.
You can't be CEO, COO and Director of PR! The executive team of any company should be insulated from the media and/or scutiny by a layer of PR/marketing empowered with the ability to: answer tough questions and make the decisions that they feel are right to defend the company from itself and/or promote the virtues/values of the company. Execs should be used sparingly to provide an extra level of prestige on a product, communication or activity.
 

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I contest the argument of an ROI that's "too small."

The cost of a press release, stock photography, a professionally recorded/edited launch video and a blog is about $10-15K. Seems like a lot, until you realize that you only have to sell 100 units to break even for a $150 watch. That's chicken scratch for a big player like Seiko. Christ, there must be 500 SKX divers on this forum alone--maybe more? And a media review program is a scalable activity, costing only as much as your FOB price * units + shipping to reviewers.

I really can't stomach the notion that there's no ROI for a bigger player investing in budget models. In fact, judging by what I know in my own career experience promoting premium luxury goods: the big ticket items cast the "halo" of quality and prestige, but you don't sell that many. You make those premium models to give consumers a good feeling about your craftsmanship and attention to detail, and they assume it must extend to all levels of your stack.

Meanwhile, it's the entry-level and mainstream models that are volume movers that drive revenue and gross margin, even if that GM/unit is small it adds up fast. That's where you want to invest your money, because that's where most of your money will come from.
 

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I'll play your game you rogue...

Let's say you're right (read: "I think you're right")...but the big brands *ARE* ignoring this segment of the market (affordable/mechanical), or at least, they're not paying much attention to it when it comes to promotion.

Why?

If the answer isn't a too small ROI, or an ROI that's perceived to be too small, even erroneously, then what IS the answer?

How do you explain it, or what's your theory about why the big brands don't seem to give much of a crap about promoting their new models? Hell, they don't even seem to be working that hard to promote ANY of their affordable/mechanical models, or very many of their best quartz models. Why are we only hearing/seeing about new models when someone stumbles over them by accident?
In the business of brand marketing, I'd consider Seiko a "cult brand," which is a brand that's cultivated sufficient user loyalty and momentum as to obviate the need for product-as-hero advertising, or indeed any advertising at all. Consider Google, Facebook, Starbucks and similar: these brands do not spend any money on traditional advertising because the "customers" do all the advertising that's required. Intel long ago exited the business of doing product-specific advertising, because they've reached such ubiquity through partners and in the retail channel that minimal lifestyle marketing and the jingle are all that's needed to keep momentum going.

This passage is particularly salient:

They encourage personal freedom, which sets them apart from other brands on the market, while most companies provide customers with a product; cult brands encourage shoppers to customize their products.
This is immediately recognizable in the large modding community that surrounds Seiko products, which certainly could have been engineered or lawyered out of existence some time ago.

And as a result, Seiko can act rather lazily in the market with regards to marketing and advertising because their enthusiastic customers will do all the work for them a la Seiko 5 finder.

//EDIT: The next step up from Cult Brand is "lifestyle brand," where the brand becomes synonymous with or identifiable as the banner for a culture. This is the elite level that every brand dreams of. Apple, Quicksilvr, Harley, Lululemоn and Nike are all examples of a lifestyle brand. Advertising often returns at this phase of brand development in the guise of aspirational marketing, designed to make outsiders feel like they're missing something greatly important that the "insiders" have. Through this the culture grows and self-perpetuates, and permits the brand to diversify into new markets that will be followed and supported by the culture.

Rolex is a good example of a lifestyle brand in the watch business. Despite many brands having greater technical prowess at lesser prices, Rolex is still the banner for a certain posh lifestyle. Everyone who's made it big and knows nothing about watches wants to bring home a Rolex.
 
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