Have you heard of Daniel Wellington?

Just a few years back, no one heard of the name Daniel Wellington, or their classic “Nato” striped watchstraps which has been all the rage for some time now. The story goes like this.

Like all young Swedes who wants to discover themselves and the world, Filip Tysander followed the mainstream dream and travelled to Australia after high school. There, Tysander met a fashionable Englishman named Daniel Wellington, who was wearing a Rolex with the classic Nato watch band. Tysander was deeply impressed by the Englishman’s Ian Fleming air, and that’s how he got his million-dollar idea, and his million-dollar brand name: Daniel Wellington.

The name just sounded right for an international watch brand. But the success didn’t happen overnight. Back in Sweden Tysander was fired from a couple of jobs and enrolled in business studies instead. He started two companies – selling neckties and plastic watches online. The year of his graduation he used $24,000 he had earned from his previous ventures to start the third and decisive company that was to change his life.

The preppy watches became a huge success. Not only because their stylish design and good quality relative to price, but also because Tysander was able to exploit a void in the marketing strategies of his established competitors: social media. His campaign was built around actively getting influencers with lots of followers to showcase his watches. We’re getting used to seeing this strategy applied by now, but a few years back it was cutting edge. Now the brand Daniel Wellington has more than two million followers on Instagram, thereby dwarfing competing watch brands.

In 2014 Daniel Wellington sold more than a million units and reached $70 million in sales. For 2015, revenue skyrocketed to $170 million. With lucrative margins above 50 percent, Tysander – who is the sole owner of the company – made a profit of about $66 million last year. So he wasn’t exactly scraped bare when he bought Stockholm’s most expensive apartment last year.

Let’s see how he achieve his success on the marketing front. Specifically he used pretty good tactics to engage and also elicit referrals.

1. Direct engagement through social media channels

Daniel Wellington’s Instagram is well maintained and professional looking, consisting of a chronology of tasteful and visually appealing images. Pictures on their account vary from close-ups of their watches, to people (or animals) wearing the watches.

Whatever it is, it is undeniable that their watches look great on screen, and the emphasis is on how potential customers could easily recreate their “minimalistic and elegant” look.

Instagram has turned out to be the company’s main outreach platform, with more than 2 million followers as of date. Staff often take time to respond to reviews and feedback, positive or otherwise, creating a form of brand engagement with followers.

2. Actively encouraging quality user-generated content

Apart from uploading pictures on their Instagram account, Daniel Wellington actively encourages Instagram users to post pictures with their DW watches. The hashtag #DanielWellington has close to a million posts.

Daniel Wellington also runs a daily #DWpickoftheday competition, where winners are rewarded by simply being featured on the official Instagram account. Being “picked” by DW offers a highly personal and intimate experience with the brand, creating strong brand loyalty in the process. “Picks” almost always received thousands of likes and positive comments, reinforcing the brand’s positive image.

3.Using influencers for ‘natural’ product placements

Daniel Wellington CEO Filip Tysander has an aversion to traditional advertising, steering clear of billboards and running ads on print media. Instead, the company chooses to work with prominent social media profiles and influencers worldwide.

The arrangements include paid endorsements for more prominent celebrities, to offering a free watch to less established influencers. The costs and reach of social media advertising is nearly unbeatable in this context, and Daniel Wellington has seemed to got its marketing game right.

4. Generating traffic through the use of promo codes

Daniel Wellington makes use of discount codes to the divert traffic to their web store. Often, influencer’s posts are accompanied by these discount codes, giving their followers 5-20% off on their purchases.

With these discounts, influencers would be more willing to encourage followers to buy DW watches, while followers themselves enjoy from the cost savings. These are the strategies employed by Daniel Wellington so successfully to grow and dominate the mid-range watch industry.

Why not try some of them yourself to improve your brand presence? Start an Instagram account, run a photo competition with your company #hashtag, hire influencers to create awareness of your product, and be sure to include promo codes in those posts. You could be the next Daniel Wellington.

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