You’re on the blog of PMYB, the influencer marketing agency that disrupted the influencer marketing industry through our scientific, data-driven approach to identifying effective influencers. We design, implement and execute influencer strategies for the world’s biggest brands, including TikTok, boohooMAN and Hilton. We also provide marketers with valuable influencer marketing insights and news of social media developments. In this article, we detail how Daniel Wellington transformed into a million dollar company through influencer marketing.

Daniel Wellington’s Success Story

Swedish watchmaker, Daniel Wellington, can credit much of its considerable success to a series of well-strategised influencer marketing campaigns.

The business was built by Filip Tysander after a series of chance meetings with an intriguing Englishman during an Australian backpacking tour.  The Englishman wore a vintage Rolex watch with a nylon strap. Tysander was inspired by the simple strap and decided to set up his own watch brand. He named the brand after the enigmatic Englishman – Daniel Wellington.

Tysander invested $US15,000 as seed capital. Four years later it was reporting revenues of $220 million. Daniel Wellington is a clear example of how you can take a spark of inspiration and turn it into business success with influencer marketing.

Daniel Wellington became Europe’s fastest growing company between 2013 and 2015, posting 4700% growth. In 2014, they reached the milestone of one million timepieces in annual sales. In comparison, Rolex took 111 years to reach that milestone, and Tag Heuer operated 156 years before they made one million yearly sales.

But how?

daniel wellington watch

Daniel Wellington’s USP – The Point of Difference

It was the simplicity of the original Daniel Wellington’s timepiece that attracted Filip Tysander. Indeed it was the strap that made the difference. The original had a simple black and grey nylon strap, known as the NATO strap. It was unpretentious, yet worked.

Tysander decided to set up a business making affordable watches, with minimalistic, yet attractive, nylon straps. These were interchangeable, so could be easily replaced. You could even change your watchstrap to match an occasion.

The watches themselves are unpretentious. They are relatively cheap basic quartz timepieces from Asia.

When Tysander was designing his watch, coloured straps had yet to hit the watch industry. He envisioned how he could change that, though. “Since preppy fashion is so big in clothing, I decided also to add some colour to the NATO strap to match it up with the preppy fashion, like Ralph Lauren clothes,” Tysander said.

This meant that Daniel Wellington watches could appear luxurious but remain inexpensive. Despite this, the company makes a gross margin of about 50%., meaning that the business ultimately turned out to be highly profitable.

Marketing Daniel Wellington Watches

When you begin a business with just $15,000, you limit your marketing opportunities. You definitely won’t be thinking about producing television ads or full-page spreads in glossy magazines.

Filip Tysander recognised his marketing limitations and planned his strategy accordingly. He was reluctant to pay for traditional advertising and the company still spends a relatively small amount on those forms of marketing.

Tysander decided to focus on social media marketing and chose to concentrate on Instagram from the business’ early days. He knew that the Daniel Wellington watches with their quirky straps would appeal most to younger people who spent much of their time on social media. And the most visual social network on which you can share your product is, of course, Instagram.

Indeed, many consider Filip Tysander to be one of the pioneers of effective Instagram marketing.

Daniel Wellington’s Move to Influencer Marketing

Daniel Wellington clearly understood the greatest pitfall of social media marketing. Your message means nothing when nobody’s watching your message. Unless you have a sizeable following, few people will ever see your organic posts. This is the even more so the case today than it was when Daniel Wellington began marketing its watches.

This is no longer a problem for Daniel Wellington, however. They can now boast a total of 4.2 million Instagram followers. But it wasn’t always like that. Like everybody else, Daniel Wellington began with only a few followers, predominantly friends and family of Filip Tysander.

Tysander studied how Instagram worked. Unlike some of his competitors, Tysander chose to shy away from the expensive celebrity endorsement. Instead, he saw the power of influencers – even though that name had yet to be coined at that stage. Tysander decided to take the then-unconventional path of influencer marketing to spread the word about his watches.

He offered a free watch to influencers willing to share photos of themselves wearing the watch on their Instagram accounts. To help keep track of the success of his campaign, he gave individualised discount codes to each influencer.

Daniel Wellington was lucky with its choice of influencers. Most people he approached in those early days were happy to take up his offer, and many shared creative photos of themselves wearing their free watches.

Over time the campaign expanded. This ultimately mobilised thousands of trendsetters to design evermore creative posts showing Daniel Wellington watches on real people’s arms in real-world settings. It gave the company enormous exposure for much smaller cost than traditional advertising.

The Importance of User-Generated Content

From the beginning, Daniel Wellington focused on its influencers sharing user-generated content. This made the images shared more natural and seemingly more authentic. 95% of the material shared on Daniel Wellington’s Instagram account is also user-generated.

It helps that Daniel Wellington managed to portray their watches as being fashionable. This gave many opportunities for people to share their wearing of Daniel Wellington watches in stylish settings.

As we mention a lot to our clients, it’s important to give your influencers a degree of creative control when creating posts. And this is a tactic that Daniel Wellington used in order to scale. After all, that is how each one of them initially gained their fame on Instagram. They know their followers better than any brand could.

As a result of the different creative approaches, there were large variations in the styles of the influencer posts. But that was hardly a problem for the millennials. They expect individuality and detest corporate consistency.

Daniel Wellington has also helped to encourage user-generated content by regularly setting up photo contests. This includes a “Pic of the Day” contest, with the daily winners featuring on the official company Instagram account and winning a free watch.

The Targeted Hashtag

A critical factor of the campaign;’s success was the creation of their custom hashtag, #danielwellington. All of the original influencers used this tag, and in little time, other people started including it in their posts and comments as well.

The #danielwellington hashtag has been used in over 1,800,000 posts – a valuable key performance indicator that can be applied to any business.

The competitions are also given custom hashtags, for instance, if you want to enter the “Pic of the Day” contest you need to include the hashtag #DWPickoftheDay. So far, people have used that tag in 54,603 posts.

Use Influencer Marketing to Catapult Your Brand

It was no fluke that Daniel Wellington succeeded because of its influencer marketing strategy. It was shrewd leadership by Filip Tysander, who initially realised where most of the company’s customers spend their leisure time. He also realised that he would have struggled to make a splash on Instagram by himself. He needed the people who influenced his target customers to help him showcase his product. Undeniably, the bare bones of Daniel Wellington’s strategy are important to the success of many influencer marketing campaigns.

However, at PMYB, we ensure that the campaign strategies we design, implement and execute are formed in a way that tackles the problems our clients are facing. No brand is the same and your company influencer marketing strategy needs to be customised in a way that fits it. What happened for Daniel Wellington a few years ago may not be right for your brand right now. There is a multitude of factors – from your niche to your competition, to the notoriety of your brand, to the number of available Chromo-Influencers™ within your target demographic and much more.


Quote from PMYB Co-Founder

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