Daniel Wellington – A Social Media Golden Child

A couple years ago, Daniel Wellington or the word Nato Strap didn’t mean much to any fashionables. Launched in 2011, Daniel Wellington became an international sensation in the fashion watch world with huge social following especially on Instagram. They did it without noticeble investment in traditional paid media (Print, OOH, TV, etc). However, they invested strategically on digital especially on social media, riding on the trend of UGC (User Generated Content. It’s not a new concept. Burberry has done it well with artoftrend.com). The term “Nato”, originally from British Navy, is not widely used in the interchangeable straps watches world.

DW Site

Sleek & Simple Design


What’s their key to the great success? Let’s sum them up:

1. Clear and Concise Brand Story

The story began with a friendship across the world. Daniel Wellington is supposed to be a dynamic individual who has a James Bone Flair and wears his Rolex with a Nato Strap.The brand is supposed to be a tribute to the man with the same name. (Seriously, there’s never a photo of Daniel Wellington on the internet. I’m personally doubting the existence of such person.

Quoted directly from Daniel Wellington’s Official Site:

DW /Brand Story

Words Only

2. Clearly defined persona & Target Audience


Daniel Wellington himself is the ultimate brand ambassador –  gentlemanly and refined, yet completely unpretentious. (According to Fashionbeams.com). Mr Wellington has a colorful personality and a great sense of style.

The design is simple –

  • the Nato Strap
  • the Leather Strap
  • A Watch for all Occasions summed that up

Target Audience:

For the modern style conscious male, but, ‘not just for men”.  (How clever is that!)

Stylish men, but not just for men

3. Well-rounded visual appeal on the right platform – Instagram

Shows how watches can match with different seasons/occasions by the easy change of strap (now everyone knows the NATO strap..) the over 917K fans is a good indicator of its success. It’s definitely thew golden child of Instagram – the visually appealing platforms for the fashionables

Daniel Wellington Has over 710K fans around the world, way more than its Facebook following. The place of all the quality content.

Daniel Wellington Has over 710K fans around the world, way more than its Facebook following. The place of all the quality content.

4. Strong Word of Mouth Network

That’s actually the top secrets of their success. They seeded out thousands of watches to numerous bloggers in different sectors and offered their fans a unique/personalised 15%-20% discount code for their fans to buy the watches directly from DW’s official site (of course, they do free shipping to lower the barrier).

As Shown in their Tmall Flagship Page

As Shown in their Tmall Flagship Page

Benefits of Extensive Bloggers outreach

1. Credibility – they are influencers. They built up their flowering and their own brand. It’s simple endorsement. They don’t need to be all fashion bloggers, as long as they poise a lifestyle followers aspire to.

2. Content – bloggers are content generators. Content is king. This is exactly what bloggers are good at. They create very impressive photos with the watches under the hashtag #DanielWellingtonWatches. With the bloggers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) starting the trend, others follows and a social culture of taking visually appealing image with DW watches is a cool thing to do.

3. Traffic – it’s all about sales at the end of the day. With the personalised discount, bloggers are more willing to direct traffic to DW’s site and encourage their fans to purchase – internet word of mouth.

4. Quality User Generated Content (UGC)

As the led by the fashionables, a social culture of #DanielWellingtonWatches have been formed. Quality UGC is ultimate consumer engagement. #DWpickoftheday offering no incentive but featuring the photos on DW’s official Instagram has been a great way to keep the momentum going for more quality UGC. It’s a symbol of style if your photo is picked. DW won the exposure and also the heart of the consumers – double win.

Featuring quality UGC (User Generated content

Featuring quality UGC (User Generated content

6. Board & Decentralised distribution

DW is sold in over 450 points in APAC and over 35 major online stores. They ranked no. 11 in the top watch brands in terms of sales on 11.11 in 2014. Their first ever store is in LCX Hong Kong. Rumor has it. The sales is impressive as well. As for Tmall, DW does play by Tmall’s rules, offering discount, coupon, 50% off here and there, even for online activation didn’t require such deep discount.

DW's Tmall Flagship

The Key to DW’s success is their smart use of social media and bloggers outreach. Whether or not, the brand is a one time hit or could emerge to an icon in fashion watch is still unknown. They just launched a new watch Dapper. What do you think?

(I did ordered mine online using one of the bloggers’ discount code 😉 Online Shoppaholic ME)


4Cs for Social Media Strategy

Like a diamond, social media marketing strategy revolves around 4Cs – Care, Content, Campaigns & Collaboration.


1. Care –

Your customer care hotline is simply not enough for the digital age. People turn to social media to seek information or assistant.

The key is to respond properly and timely. First, set up standard of procedure of handling customer enquiry/complaints.  Have you set up within what time customer enquiry needed to be responded to? Do you have a FAQ ready to answer questions? Have you set up a go-to list for questions what you need to seek outside of your department? How do you handle a complaint? What investigation needs to be done before. Of course, everyone knows is that you needs to take the complaint offline. Talk to the customer directly instead of arguing online. And above all, have a crisis plan ready. When do things need to be escalated? Crisis Plan! 

Instead of passively waiting for customers/potential customer to reach out to you, you have to be proactive – look out there. Constant monitoring and an alert system is the key. There are a lot of tools out there to help you monitor trending topics or people talking about your brand, product or services. 

Set up your own sentiment scores. Work with your agency or your PR team. This is essential if you are selling service. You want to know if people like you or not.  Also, when you launch a campaign. Monitor the before and after number of people are talking about you and the sentiment score will also give you some insights on how successful your campaign is.

2. Content –

Cliché – content is king. It’s true though. Managing your brand’s content is not the same as writing your personal journal. Define your own content strategy. What content pillars can

1)   tell your brand story

2)   appeal to your fans and make them want more

Don’t ever post something because you have to. Don’t think as a brand marketers. Think as a fan. What’s this in for me? Will I like this content? Will I share with my friends? Seriously, I don’t really care where you have stores.  

Tell me the right thing at the right time at the right frequency. Don’t know what to do? Test it out. Define when is the best time of the day/week to post, how many times you post and what kinds of content actually gain most traction. Fine tune your strategy as your testing goes.

3. Campaigns

It’s time to amplify your efforts.  Campaigns are here to help you gain more attention than the regular posting.

Remember you have different audience and where you are in terms of social also determines what kind of campaigns you need.

If your community is small, sweepstake might be the way for you the gain the first batch of fans.

Photo contest can be a good way to motivate your fans to connect emotionally with your brand. What’s good about it? You don’t need as much translation work to determine who the winner is.

Design your campaigns based on your brand essence and what group of your fans you are appealing you.  You need different campaigns for the mass, your new fans, your normal fans and your hardcore fans.

4. Collaboration

You can do things on your own but by partnering with the right gangs, you’ll be there faster and more successful.  You want to leverage on other’s influence and strengthen your own branding or appeal to a new group of audience.  Media, bloggers, or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are your friends. What can they do? They tell a better story. Think really good and hard on how you collaborate with them.  Think of a win-win solution. It’s a passé for you to simply pay them to say something you want.  Identify the potential parties you want to partner with and how you can partner with them. 

After all, our focus is the Big C – Community. To build up a healthy community that supports your brand like sport fans is a help you convey your brand message and support you when things get rough. 

Got ideas about social media marketing? Share!