Interview: Vincent Perriard CEO of TechnoMarine
Jason Pitsch: As a CEO at Concord, what did you learn about the watch business that might help you revitalize Technormarine?
Vincent Perriard: Believe in what you do and live your ideas with passion, without limit and without external pressure. My team and I have never feared not to succeed. This is a real freedom and a state of mind that I always had in my previous experiences. So, the story continues with TechnoMarine... !
JP: So you previously worked at Audemars Piguet, what do you like about their business strategy that might work at Technomarine?
VP: At Audemars Piguet, I have been lucky to be able to totally create the Communication department of the brand. There were no communication people within the organization! I was part of the STRATEGY 2000 that brought AP on track to success: introduction of the Royal Oak OFFSHORE (1995), introduction of the new brand repositioning (1997) and the new distribution concept with different AP boutiques around the world (1998). So, I have learned to remain very focused. In marketing, there is a "magic" word: consistency. Define a vision; translate this vision into an action plan; STICK TO YOUR IDEA... with no compromises. This is what I have learned.
JP: Assuming you will be making major changes to the Technomarine watch designs, what price range will this new collection of watches be positioned in?
VP: We are going to keep the same price positioning: $300 - $3,000 but we will bring emotions (marketing) and content (product). In both extremes of our price segment, you will be surprised...
JP: Will you be focusing on any specific type of watches, sizes, or materials?
VP: Yes, TechnoMarine refers to the sea so we will find watches that connect the consumer with the "technique" world and the "marine" world. So material, colors, shapes, functions will convey this message with a color twist and a disruptive position and angle.
JP: Any hint at what will be powering the new Technomarine watches?
VP: TechnoMarine is about "friendly" technique, which means that we are not looking for rocket science movements or functions. We will put our creative energy on the design and focus our work to make our product user friendly.
JP: I know with Concord, you relocated the headquarters to Swiss soil. Is this your plan for Technomarine?
VP: It's already done! We are based in Geneva and have kept our US operations in Miami with a new CEO, my ex colleague at MOVADO GROUP, Steven Cohen. Steven is now heading the US operations with a new sales team...
JP: I read that you plan on using three-quarters of your advertising budget on new media. That is a huge share of your ad budget, especially in the watch industry. What makes you think such a high online ad spend will be effective?
VP: Because the watch industry has been always afraid to enter into the electronic era... When a manager in the watch industry says "my company invests on the internet", he says he is investing 10 to 15% of his budget online... and he buys a banner, that's it.
We, at TechnoMarine, we are preparing a real online offensive strategy where VIRAL marketing takes place. We are producing around 120,000 units a year. The reach is much wider than many watch companies. The internet is much more direct, more interactive, gives more creative opportunities. If you're looking to buy a watch today, what is your reflex? You go online to see what the community says about your selected brand. Today, everybody goes online. We want to strongly invest on the internet because it is much better to "own" one channel and to "treat" it in a very efficient way.
JP: What are some of your favorite timepieces?>
VP: All the watches that I have experienced during my previous experiences in the industry!
JP: What brands do you admire the most?
VP: I more admire the people behind some brands. A brand is nothing without people. In fact to answer your question, I don't admire one specific brand. I have respect for the work that has been done. It's different.
JP: Looking forward to seeing the new Technomarine watches at Baselworld 2010. What can readers and industry professionals expect to see from Technomarine in Basel this year?
VP: In Basel 2010 TechnoMarine is coming with around 100 new products to give a new dimensions and coherence to our collections. We are coming with a total new team of creative, marketer, sales people and designers. We are coming with a new brand identity with a new logo, color, new marketing concept, new advertising, new brand environment and a distribution totally reorganized to penetrated the territories where we have no presence... this is STEP 1. This will be done in... 5 months of work (we have started our new mission on Sept. 1, 2009...) STEP 2 is Basel 2011... we will create the buzz by reconnecting the brand with its core DNA: low end meets high end... Expect the unexpected. The brand will be credible, relevant and "cool" again...