— It was at the very top Replica Watches of the Jungfrau that Swiss Replcia TAG Heuer Watches UK decided to spearhead a charm offensive targeting its Chinese clientele. An ambitious feat which at a deeper level symbolises the brand’s growth strategy.
Jean-Claude Biver did not quite celebrate his birthday on the “roof of the Replica Rolex watchmaking world”, but almost. Turning 66 in a few days, the eminence grise of the LVMH watchmaking division chose one of Europe’s highest peaks, the Jungfrau, as the venue in which to host some 40 members of the Chinese media who enjoyed a chance to listen to their pop idol, G.E.M.
Yet another media stunt for TAG Heuer? Not only. The initiative has far greater reach than simply staging a concert at 3,500 metres. The wind blowing that day on top of the Jungfrau was that of TAG Heuer’s rebooted, all-conquering spirit.
Because, it must be said, the event would have put off quite a number of brands. A mind-boggling budget, nightmarish organisation commensurate with hosting a rock star who sells her albums by the million, a site that is completely subject to the vagaries of the weather and a remote marketing operation 11,000 kilometres from its target market. A market which, in addition, is watching its stock exchange in free fall and its watchmaking imports plummet by 39.6%. The outlook is not merely bleak, it is positively pitch black.
“Swiss loves China”
So of course, just when everyone else would have slammed on the brakes, Jean-Claude Biver is going all out. Readily complimentary about an audience that is already on board (“China has more inhabitants and higher peaks than Switzerland!”), the gentleman in no way attempts to hide the importance of the Chinese market for TAG Heuer: “Last year, Switzerland signed the first three economic trade agreements with China. We need China” he emphasised. “China enables the cheap fashion replica watches industry to be a very, very big business. The stakes are considerable and it is obviously now that we need to go for it”, asserted the patriarch with a powerful blow of his stick to the fresh snow of the Bernese glacier.
The underlying strategy is clear: reconstitute TAG Heuer as a proximity-focused brand, “connected to people’s reality”, as he explains backstage. Synergies are maximised at all levels, including in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where Jean-Claude Biver has torn down all the individual offices in favour of a large open space.
Behind the scenes, the CEO is setting an exceptional pace for his teams. Every market is being assigned a monthly or even weekly minimum of events. Any unsuspecting ambassador venturing too close to a point of sale runs the risk of being snapped up for a cocktail party, a boutique opening or an autograph session. One example among dozens is the impromptu match with Maria Sharapova… smack bang in the middle of the Champs-Elysées, in Paris!
This is a long-term strategy but the results are already being felt. Locally, a manager in the Swiss market confirms that “the July figures were very good”. Their August stats, currently being consolidated, are likely to present a slowing down but “remain quite good”. Clients and the media alike are pampered, taken on trips up hill and down dale with, hand on heart, no ulterior motive other than to “have a good time”. But at the end of the day, TAG Heuer is doing neither more nor less than Hublot in its time: a worldwide seduction offensive, tailored as closely as possible to each client, 12 months a year.