Rolex’s Brand Equity – Case Study #9
Do you know what is Brand Equity? This is definitely what every brand who wants to grow on top of any market needs to seek for.
In fact, brand equity is the combination of 5 components:
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Association
- Perceived Quality
- Brand Loyalty
- Proprietary Assets or Uniqueness
So for this week’s marketing case study we will talk about one brand with a powerful brand equity, I named Rolex!
What is Rolex?
Rolex is a watch manufacturer founded by Hans Wilsdorf. Yep, not “Hans Rolex” as you could have imagined!
Indeed, Wilsdorf registered the brand Rolex in 1908. He simply wanted a name that was easy to pronounce in any language. Also, the word Rolex was onomatopoeic, making a similar sound to a watch being wound (hmm). Finally it was practical as the name was small enough to easy fit any watch face.
I believe that most of you have heard about Rolex, so I will not do you the insult to teach you the full story of Rolex during the last 100 years, but yet, here are some famous moment in Rolex’s history:
In 1926, Rolex developed the “Oyster”, the first waterproof wristwatch in the world.
In 1931, Rolex will change the face of the watch industry by creating the Perpetual Movement, a mechanism that doesn’t need to be manually rewind every day. Here, a little balance inside the mechanism uses the motion of the wearer’s wrist to create energy.
A type of mechanism that you still see, nowadays, in automatic watches.
Even better, Rolex is synonym to exploits!
In 1927, Mercedes Gleitze crossed the English Channel with her Rolex Oyster. The cross took 10 hours and the watch remained in perfect working condition.
In 1953, new exploit for Rolex, their iconic Oyster Perpetual Explorer accompanied the British climber Edmund Hillary at the summit of the Everest, the highest mountain in the world!
Hillary & Rolex’s legend has just started…
I could keep going with Rolex going underwater, being part of the Pan American outfit or accompanying american presidents for decades but it will never stop!
Let’s see how Rolex fits with the 5 points of Brand Equity.
As one of the leading luxury watch brand, Rolex is well-recognized among its potential customers. By sponsoring events or by using social media platforms to present the value of its wrist watches, Rolex connects with the people.
Also, as stated on the story of Rolex, the brand connects with extreme exploits but also with more “regular” sport competitions like the 24 Hours of Le Mans or as the official sponsor for the Women’s World Golf Rankings for example.
For a big brand like Rolex, it is mandatory to be associated with positive impact activities than just a large company working on factories…
On this regards, Rolex annually funds organizations like the National Geographic to support aqua and nature conservation, wildlife protection and other environmental causes and projects.
Brand association also goes on the relation between Rolex and technological improvements like waterproof cases and resistance.
Rolex is not only about fit & finish but also about performance and stability.
Yet, the most important aspect of Rolex brand is its empowerment value.
With its notorious long story of success and by being wear by important people, Rolex became a synonym of success.
People purchase Rolex as a recognized symbol of success. (Even though watch lovers will tell you that a Rolex is just a first step and the real prestige comes from watches made by Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet etc)
In 2014, Rolex was in the second position as one of the most reputable brand in the world.
In fact, the level of trust from consumers is still really high and these ones still feel that keeping a Rolex watch is like offering a present to themselves.
There is an intense and strong emotional relationship between customers and the Rolex products.
A brand like Rolex is not only defined by its history but also by its creations and then its proprietary assets like trademarks and patents.
This is necessary to keep your loyal customers base strong as they know they will never find the same exact product somewhere else.
In this case, Rolex sells its watches under registered iconic trademarks like:
- Oyster & Oyster Perpetual
- Crown Device
It took decades for Rolex to have their powerful brand equity at the level it is right now.
What to be learn?
When you start your brand, never forget what you want your company to be associated with. Splitting the brand equity into 5 points make it easier for you to prepare a full strategy by splitting the requirements for each point.
Building brand equity takes time but it will be worth it as your customers will become your brand ambassadors with arguments to support you!
Check big brands and try to define what are their brand equities, you’ll be surprised.
Have a great week and let’s do great marketing.