SARAL Forensics: Daniel Wellington Influencer Marketing

A pathway to brand triumph.

October 26, 2022

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A little bit of Story…

In 2006, Filip Tysander, a Swedish guy, traveled across Australia when he met a  stylish English gentleman. That man was fond of vintage watches & wore them with old NATO straps. The style was impeccable but understated, which impressed Filip.

After coming to Sweden, he put a couple of thousands of dollars into starting a company making elegant, minimalistic watches with interchangeable straps. He named the brand after the man who inspired him: Daniel Wellington.

Daniel Wellington's Impressive Numbers

Since its inception in 2011, the company has sold over 6 million watches in 25 countries worldwide. Their Instagram account has an impressive number of followers — 4.8M as of Aug 2022.

DW's Instagram

The hashtag #danielwellington has 166M+ views on TikTok & 2,429,989 posts on Instagram. Even if you want to watch the last 4 days of the full history of the hashtag, you will have to keep scrolling non-stop for a couple of minutes.

DW's TikTok Hashtag

Their watches are being donned by models & stars such as Hailey Beiber, Selena Gomez, and Korean dreamboat Lee Jong Suk.

Filip Tysander has a background in marketing, so it's not a surprise that the brand Daniel Wellington had a good marketing strategy that contributed to its success. But influencer marketing, in particular, was the centerpiece of their marketing. They utilized the power of many "small" celebrities rather than ultra-popular names that watch brands like Rolex are used to doing.

In fact, in 2018 here's what happened —

To show you how impressive that is, here's another fact — Popular brands like Nike and Sephora received less than 10% of that number!

In 2017 when influencer marketing was picking up, DW was already partnering with thousands of creators. The success of this strategy, instead of pumping money into ads like every other brand, helped them stay bootstrapped and were under no pressure to raise VC money.

What Can We Learn From Daniel Wellington's Influencer Marketing

Product Seeding; Marketing at 'No cost'

Product seeding/gifting means sending free products to creators in the hope that they will post about your product, share their reviews & drive brand awareness plus social proof.

Daniel Wellington started influencer marketing by product seeding with nano-influencers before moving to a paid-partnership model with more prominent creators. They would ask creators to post pictures of them wearing a watch using the branded hashtag #danielwellington.

The after-effect of this was an explosion of photos with branded hashtags, a boom in sales, and Daniel Wellington becoming a leader in the lifestyle brand category. When many creators were given creative freedom, fresh and engaging content emerged.

This usually works with nano-influencers (creators with less than 20k followers) because posting on social media or brand collaborations is not their full-time pursuit. Hence, they are more likely to agree to free products instead of monetary benefits.

Utilizing User-Generated Content

To maximize the ROI of the amount spent in influencer marketing, DW used the content generated by the creators on their own social media and even on their website as product images.

Here's a script you can use to get usage rights (usage rights define who owns the content and where it can be used) for the video/post:

“Hey {first_name},

We're so glad you loved our gift. Thank you for sharing it in your story.

We'd love to be able to share this with our audiences as well! Could we have the right to use this content on organic and paid social sites for 30 days?

Thank you.

Mixing product gifting and getting user-generated content as a strategy was pioneered by DW but is now perfected by multiple eCommerce brands. This is one of the cheapest (almost free apart from the cost of the product) to get ad creatives, product images, or social media photos generated at scale. You can read about the full strategy here.

Here's a creator post talking about DW watch.

Creator post about DW's watch

The post was later used on the DW's website

Creator's post used on the website in a popup form (Source)

Here's a post made by a creator wearing DW watch on Instagram

The brand used the same for their feed with a catchy caption.

Personalized Promo Code for Influencers

Every creator that promotes any of DW's products gets a unique promo code for their audience.

This has three benefits:

  • It motivates the influencer to post about the brand since they get to be heroes in their fans' eyes, offering them great deals.
  • The creator's fans get a nudge to buy the product because of the extra discount.
  • The brand can measure approx. ROI of each collaboration by tracking the purchase made with each coupon. Then they can choose to add/drop creators based on that data.

Apart from the personalized code, every creator probably gets a good brief on the campaign and essential information to include in the post. We could see every post of their SUMMER campaign had a campaign name, collection name, full offer with discounts, freebies, etc.

Campaigns around Important Calendar Events

Apart from running random promotional campaigns throughout the year, DW collaborates with creators around the times when there's a high probability of someone buying their watch as a gift for someone — special events and holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc.

The perfect excuse to buy a DW item coupled with social proof from a creator that people look up to and topped with a discount is a great way to boost sales and a strategy worth stealing for your brand.

Here's an example of a post from a creator promoting DW's watch during Valentine's Day

Onboarding Ambassadors

DW has a dedicated landing page that invites people to become brand ambassadors.

The top of the page is optimized to get someone registered as an ambassador with repeating CTAs, a strong mission statement, and a stylish image.

The second half of the page talks about perks & some FAQs but not in much detail. Other brands like Athletic Greens and Notion do a much better job of outlining a creator or ambassador program on their landing pages.

The Team Behind DW's Influencer Marketing

As per the LinkedIn search, we can see 9 people in the Influencer marketing team. The global Head of Influencer Marketing probably heads the department. Then there are regional Influencer Marketing managers, Coordinators, and even freelancing consultants to help run the operations.

Now, after more than a decade of growth and collaborations with nano, micro, and macro influencers, DW is working with global icons around the world to promote their brand & new collection 'Link.'

Onboard, they have model Hailey Bieber and NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. from the US.; singer-songwriter Lay Zhang from China; model and actress Lee Sung Kyung from South Korea; Bollywood stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte from India; and Argentine soccer player Paulo Dybala, who is popular with the European audience.

"We picked seven different icons that we think stand for great things that we want to talk about. Some of the other faces are very locally relevant. We're not picking one face that tries to represent the entire world—together, they do it, but of course, we want to show that we are a watch that's great for people in India, the US, China, and Sweden as well." says a spokesperson from the brand in an interview with Forbes. (source)

Takeaways For Your Brand

  • If you don't have a clue about influencer marketing, start with Instagram. It’s likely that your audience hangs out there. Multiple brands have validated the platform, and a lot of tools like SARAL are built around it to help you execute your strategy, even if you are a one-person team.
  • As a small brand, giving out money in exchange for posts from creators might put a burden on your cash flow, so try product seeding. When the collaboration is not just about money and is about your product and brand as well, it will help you build strong relationships with creators.
  • If you are skeptical about how you will measure the ROI of influencer marketing, give unique promo codes to your creators to track purchases.
  • Boost sales during holidays and events using influencer marketing as the cost of clicks on ads during such times is usually high, given everyone wants to get the consumers' attention.

We would love to hear your thoughts on DW's strategy or if you have any apprehensions about starting with influencer marketing. Signup for our “No BS” Influence Marketing Letter to become friends over email.

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