The new CEO of Baume and Mercier, Alain Zimmermann, in a tete-a-tete with Mitrajit Bhattacharya says that he doesnt believe in numbers
Last year we saw the launch of Hampton. However, this year we haven’t seen the launch of any major new model.
I do not want a launch just for the sake of it. When I joined Baume & Mercier, one of the very first decisions I took was to emphasise that I didn’t want a huge collection of novelties. What I wanted was a small collection, but a commercially relevant one. I believe it is not the number of novelties which make a brand successful, rather it is how interesting the core collection is and how we can work with a good mix of core collection and novelties. We launched Hampton last year. There was no need just one year later to put novelties on top of that. Our bestselling lines are Hampton and Classima, so I wanted to focus on Classima. Today, we have good collections with Riviera, Hampton, Ilia and Diamant.
Baume & Mercier has been connecting with consumers through Facebook and other networking sites. Please take us through it.
Firstly, I believe that many people aren’t aware about the history and heritage of Baume & Mercier. Since we have a rich and vibrant history, why not share it with everyone? Secondly, I think that there is so much of new technology all around us that we can’t just ignore it. I wanted to test by combining the anniversary, the heritage and the Facebook/Twitter experience and see how reactive is the Baume & Mercier community. And guess what? The response has been amazing.
Is it going to be a serious investment of time from your end towards developing this social networking as a marketing tool?
Again, it is a little too early. To be honest with you, I’m very keen on going through the results, which includes not only the qualitative results but also the quantitative results. Only then will we decide what the next step should be.
Just from an industry perspective, how do you see 2010 shaping up?
Need a crystal ball to answer this question. I just hope that personally it will be better than the last year. 2009 was a very difficult year for everybody across all industries. I am sure there is always an opportunity for the brands. People do not stop buying. Maybe, they have a different approach. I believe it is the choice that changes. The blingbling is over. It is time for real substance, quality, reputation, service and a good distribution system.
Lastly, how do we know you a little better?
I am French, but I grew up near the German border. So, let us say, I’m very cosmopolitan. I have worked six years at L’Oreal. Then I worked at Cartier for seven years and five years at IWC. After that, I worked in a different industry; private banking, which I found very interesting, as I discovered true service- oriented thinking. And if you can combine a fantastic watch brand with true service, you can’t have a better recipe for success.