Baume & Mercier Aims for ‘Top Brand’ Status in North America

Baume & Mercier North America is actively raising its public profile with its biggest-ever ad campaign plus new programs with exclusive services for customers and training rewards for retail salespeople.

The new campaign is “the most significant ad push Baume & Mercier has ever made” in the U.S. market to raise brand awareness, says Rudy Chavez, Baume & Mercier North America president. While the brand doesn’t release figures, he said it’s spending seven times the amount it spent in 2005, a figure in the “multiple millions.” The national campaign (spotlighting the brand’s Diamant for women and Rivera XXL for men) runs in a variety of lifestyle, epicurean, travel, and men’s and women’s magazines, plus the Wall Street Journal and on the Internet (10 percent of spending). There’s also significant investment in regional magazines and outdoor advertising in four major luxury-goods markets: New York City, Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles.

The aim, Chavez says, is to make Baume & Mercier “a top brand in America.” Why now? It’s the right time, he noted. “Our sell-through is very good. We have strong, new product, and our retailers expect us to help them by driving traffic into their stores.”

There’s also more use of the Internet, including “mini sites” on its Web site to link U.S. viewers to promotions for the brand. (These are informational only, notes Chavez. No watches are sold online.)

Baume & Mercier has also launched two distinctive initiatives, one for salespeople and the other for consumers.

Club PHI is a Web-based rewards site for store salespeople. It offers ongoing training about the brand and points-based rewards—like watches, iPods, and TVs (“The more you know, the more you earn,” is an on-site slogan)—for passing quizzes, making watch sales, and completing warranty registrations. “Education leads to sales,” says Chavez, and this is designed to induce salespeople not only to learn about the brand but also be more motivated to sell its watches.

“Baume & Mercier & Me” is for consumers who buy the watches. The purchaser gets a welcome packet sent in the name of the watch retailer and brand, with a membership card (with highlights of the limited two-year warranty), entitling him or her to “all the luxuries” of the program (i.e., exclusive invitations to brand affairs, unadvertised store events, and first-time information on new collections and innovations). It also provides access to Baume & Mercier’s new Premier Concierge service. When the watch owner phones an 800 number, their service or repair request gets “immediate personal response from our concierge,” says Chavez. A prepaid package in which to safely send the watch to Baume & Mercier is immediately sent. Once the service or repair is done, the concierge makes sure the watch is insured and “delivered right to your doorstep.” After-sale service is the backbone of a brand, Chavez says. This program not only underscores that but also curbs the gray market, because it’s available only to those who buy from an authorized dealer.