This week we were very lucky to steal a few precious minutes with the highly energized, industry legend, Mr Vincent Perriard. Fresh from his role as the Global President of Concord, where he was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the floundering watch maker, Vincent earlier this year took the reins at the iconic watch brand TechnoMarine. Never one to shy away from the limelight Vincent tells us what he has planned for this cool, hip brand that has unfortunately lost its way in more recent years. However, if TechnoMarine is the sheep than Perriard is surely the shepherd and it seems that greener pastures may just be closer than we think!
One thing is for sure, whatever the future holds, as long as Perriard’s around its going to be exciting!
TWL: What motivated you to take on the new role at Technomarine? What factors did you consider before accepting the position?
VP: I have been lucky enough to successfully reposition CONCORD in 3 years. After 3 years of hard work I started to receive a lot of phone calls… And the day I received Christian Viros’s call, it was different. Christian is one of the most talented managers the Watch industry has ever had. He is the man who repositioned TAG HEUER in the late 80’s and successfully sold the brand in the late 90’s to LVMH…
TWL: What do you feel you bring to the brand that it is currently lacking and why?
VP: E-N-E-R-G-Y… The need for positive energy is important in a brand. You need to have a vision. Translate your vision into an actionable plan. And then stick to it! I can bring this to TechnoMarine with a creative touch and my network.
TWL: At Concord you completely reinvented the brand, shifting the focus entirely and repositioning the brand to appeal to a much different target market. Do you plan to do the same with Technomarine?
VP: Yes. This is why Christian Viros wanted me on-board. My job is to recreate the brand with a new price segment, much more competitive but also much more compelling in a post-crisis situation! With a $300 – $3,000 retail price segment, we are much more “democratic” but want to offer the emotion and the content that you find in watches that cost $10,000+…
TWL: What changes are you planning to implement at Technomarine over the next 12 months and why?
VP: In Basel 2010 TechnoMarine is coming with around 100 new products to give a new dimension and coherence to our collections. We are coming with a total new team of creatives, marketers, 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 and designed to penetrate 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…
TWL: What do you think are the key strengths of the brand? What are its weaknesses?
VP: Strength: The brand has got a great and cool name that evokes something: Technique and Marine… There is something cool in the name. In any part of the globe retailers recognize this name and remember the good times of the TechnoDiamond… The plastic meets the Diamond. There is goodwill, without doubt.
Weakness: The brand has lost its point of view. Its “raison d’être”. We will reconnect the DNA of this brand with great products.
TWL: What does a Technomarine customer look like? What do they like about the brand and why do they choose to wear your watches?
VP: Our customers, back to the late 90’s were watch lovers. They were wearing expensive watches and went to the TechnoMarine universe because the brand was cool. It was not about money. A little bit like SWATCH in the late 80’s. You can be wealthy and drive a mini. You still look cool. TechnoMarine is not about money, it’s a state of mind. And we will recreate this State Of Mind…
TWL: How do you communicate and connect with your customers? Large watch companies are often criticized for not fully understanding and utilizing the internet and social media to market and promote their products. How do you plan to address this issue at Technomarine?
VP: 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. Our 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.
TWL: What does the future look like for Technomarine? Can we expect to see any major changes in design or functionality?
VP: Yes. We are working on disruptive concepts that no one has seen so far… But this is for 2011. We just started. In fact, remember that I started on September 1, 2009, 3 months ago. But you’ll be already surprised in 2010… I hope.
TWL: Finally, what is your favorite piece from the current collection and why?
VP: The CRUISE because the color of the watch can be changed in 10 seconds: new strap, new cover which makes your watch unique and following your mood. This watch is cool. It’s not a question of money, but a state of mind!