Building a brand from scratch on Instagram

05 April 2017
cover blog daniel wellington

While he was backpacking across Australia with a group of friends in 2006, Filip Tysander noticed one of his mates wearing a pretty cool watch, which he then discovered was a Rolex Submarine. The watch was worn by Daniel Wellington: if this name sounds familiar to you, it is because it’s a brand that sells more than 700,000 items per year and keeps growing globally. How did Tysander turn a passion for watches into a worldwide business? Let’s see.

The business model

At first glance, DW products don’t look so extrahordinary. They are sold in the $100-$500 dollar range, where many companies were already competing back in 2011, when Tysander started the business. The prices are kept low by maintaning the manufacturing in China, while the internal quartz movements are guaranteed by a vibrating crystal engineered by Japanese supplier Miyota. 
So why is Kendall Jenner wearing DW watches? And how did they reach $220 million in revenues in 2015?

The answer is clear-cut: Instagram.

Social media strategy

First thing Tysander and his people did was to send watches to a bunch of Instagram influencers for free, with the only request to post a picture with it on the platform. Nothing spectacular or otherworldly, you say. Today DW has over 3 million followers on Instagram, but another insight stands out: the company has only posted 4,3K times, but there’s over 1,2M posts with the hashtag #danielwellington that you can easily find. That’s a lot of user-generated content. The word-of-mouth on the web about DW is forever growing, and the brand’s influencers today include the likes of Kendall Jenner (with her +77 million followers).

A smart strategy by DW is to feature promo code on influencers’ post, that can vary from 5 to 20% off on the website. It is a successful way to drive people straight to buy the cool watches that they see on their phones.

[instagram url=https://www.instagram.com/p/BRn9zi_DIrI/]

Social media buzz is created pn a daily basis with contests like #DWpickoftheday that allows the winner to be featured on Daniel Wellington’s account. The creative pictures that are shared everyday on Instagram tells a lot about how the brand is perceived as appealing: people spend much time to produce high-quality contents just to become part of the DW family and enter the prestigious club.

[instagram url=https://www.instagram.com/p/BSDPwirhNc1/]

Once you land on the website, it seems like a personal Kendall Jenner page for the amount of space that is given to the young lady. The e-commerce is just a carousel featured between beautiful influencers and great social contents: it speaks to the value proposition by Tysander, who doesn’t believe in traditional advertising and has built a marketing team that focuses mainly on social media and influencers.

Tysander started the company back in 2009, and he was alone – no Co-Founder. Now his team comprises more than 100 people throughout five offices, in Los Angeles, New York, Stockholm, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen. He had a clear vision in mind: consumers will be wanting my watches because they see them everyday on their smartphones worn by fascinating stars and fashion icons.

Well, he was damn right.