Why doesn't Rolex make bigger watches
Rolex always knows for whom the hour is striking
There are people who buy a Rolex and put it in the safe - as an investment. Others proudly wear the watches as a status symbol. Rolex stands for luxury, prosperity and exclusivity. And of course the brand also embodies the famous Swiss precision. The branding expert explains why the brand is not harmed by promotion by rappers and the presence on Instagram does not reduce desirability Torben Platzer, Co-founder of TPA Media, in the next issue of the HORIZONT Swiss brand check.
Rolex is currently generating a lot of attention through the digital channels. The brand is followed by 10.3 million people on Instagram alone. Does Rolex have a desirability problem?
Torben Platzer: The Rolex brand itself does not publish any statistics or figures, but the figures from the Richemont Group show that we are currently at an absolute peak when it comes to luxury goods. Rolex is one of the most famous and popular watch brands. But that's not the only reason why it is worn by many celebrities. The brand is surrounded by a special aura. But to answer the question: Due to the general consumer behavior, the great popularity of luxury items and the presence, Rolex has long ceased to be a watch that is only worn by successful people.
To impress, there is no product presence en masse. Is that changing?
Some Rolex models remain very rare, such as the black Submariner or the Rolex Daytona. Without a good connection to the concessionaire, enthusiasts sometimes wait several years before they can finally call the watch their own. There are no confirmed figures from Rolex, but production is estimated at around one million watches per year. And yet some models can only be purchased with a 100 percent surcharge when buying it now. This is also due to the corporate strategy, which is designed for the long term. Where other brands sometimes boost production when there is increased demand, Rolex remains true to itself and, with this shortage strategy, arouses high desires for one or the other model. With this strategy, Rolex succeeds exceptionally well in controlling supply and demand at will and can create a targeted "hype" - at its own request. I think that's an extremely convenient situation for Rolex.
It's a key part of the strategy. Let's take a closer look at golf, for example: Rolex organizes its own tournament series, the so-called "Rolex Series", and here, too, relies on brand ambassadors likeNicolas Colsaertswho authentically promote this brand as a sports influencer. The same can be found in tennisRoger Federer. The websites of both brand ambassadors have one thing in common: visitors to the website can read the current time on a Rolex watch on the homepage. A Rolex watch means prestige, is a sign of wealth and elegance. The former diving watches stand for a precise clockwork and the same accuracy that one has to apply when hitting the golf or tennis ball.
However, that is also part of Rolex. Rapper Jay-Z sent the VIP guests a Rolex with the invitation to his first charity gala a few days ago. Is that hubris or appreciation?
A fully gold Daytona has a list price of just under 35,000 euros and is even one of the models that are not so easy to acquire. The VIP guests reacted accordingly enthusiastically to this gift and posted it on their social media. Rapper Meek Mill (32) aptly described it in the post in his Instagram story that this "rich shit" is getting out of hand. Rapper Jay-Z is the first musician who has made the leap to becoming an entrepreneur in the public eye and is also perceived as such. With this expensive gift, he is of course living up to his position as the first "rap billionaire" in history. The value of the Rolex is not diminished in this case either, but confirmed as a prestige object.
The brand also enjoys cult status among German rappers. Why?
If I look at the YouTube trends, I actually see a Rolex in almost every music video, a Daytona is particularly often seen on the wrist and this watch is also repeatedly touted in the rappers' texts. Especially rappers like Capital bra, Samra or SummerCem, who were able to book several No. 1 hits this year, incorporate the Rolex into many of their rhymes and even titles, as the track of the same name "Rolex" shows.
They use the object of desire, which to them represents wealth and power, as evidence of their personal success. The otherwise very superficial lyrics often contain information about their own criminal past with drugs and violence that they were able to leave behind through the music. This flirtation with the Rolex brand gives them great popularity, especially with young listeners. Young people associate precisely the messages conveyed with the brand and identify with them: A Rolex watch stands for prestige and success. They feel successful and powerful like their role models.
On the other hand, there are a few rappers who see a Rolex as too "mainstream" and make fun of this price segment. You then wear one Audemars Piguet or Patek Philippe and immediately integrate this into the song lyrics in order to place themselves hierarchically above other rappers. Shindy does that in his new album "Drama", for example.
In the end, isn't a Düsseldorf salesman like Marc Gebauer, who creates a lot of buzz on Instagram, the more authentic and credible ambassador?
Mark Gebauer, who sells Rolex watches, among other things, and likes to advertise them as permanent investments, is considered an authentic and competent source of information in social networks and his community. The combination that we see on YouTube today when Marc Gebauer, for example, with rappers like Sinan G records joint videos will be even more popular in the future. Through these videos, people not only deal intensively with the brand, but also with a watch model. Being able to make an informed decision as to whether the watch is the right choice or whether another one fits better, that is what the customer of tomorrow wants. The exciting thing is that it can be applied to any luxury good.
What effects does this have on positioning and brand management?
For Rolex, this means, in particular, brand awareness that is built up via social media. More and more people are talking about the brand. The watch is increasingly becoming an object of desire. Our society is generally more open and enlightened and is more likely to accept increased luxury than it was a few years ago. Although Rolex has not met the market's desire to increase sales, despite strong demand and popularity, the desire for such watches is growing steadily and the value of many models is also increasing - entirely in the spirit of an investment.
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