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Rolex Brand History Positioning And Strategy Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 3592 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The topic of the paper is brand Rolex, which is a well-known Swiss watch company, which manufactures watches and accessories under the brand name Rolex and have the reputation of the most prestigious.

The aim of the paper is to present the marketing strategy of the rolex brand and to give some recommendations on brand strategy during 2010-2013 years. Before presenting the recommendations on marketing mix for the Rolex company, it is important to learn the history and Brand’s positioning, it’s place in the market and competitive advantages.

Brand Rolex is focused primarily on the wealthy consumers. Rolex is a watch for masters of life, and everybody know about it: and those who may at any time purchase any creation of Rolex wizards, and those who are just dreaming about their first Rolex. Rolex – is synonymous with wealth, success and influence. Rolex designers are well aware of their target audience and try to fully satisfy all the desires of fans of the brand, as Rolex watch fans want to announce to the world their status and wealth.

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Rolex price is directly related to the technical perfection of the mechanism, the use of precious stones and metals. It is recognized that a Rolex – a sample of technical excellence that is difficult to find equal counterparts. The company is the largest consumer of gold in Switzerland, and the largest amount of gold used in the watchmaking industry is this mark (for the production of male body gold watches Rolex takes about 40 grams of precious metal). The famous Rolex leaders also on the number of gold bracelets and watches encrusted with diamonds.

“Time is money” – and in relation to the production of company Rolex, this expression sounds not in a figurative but in literal sense. The Rolex company’s philosophy is “the highest quality for high price”. Maybe it’s not the most expensive, but certainly the most famous male and female Swiss watches in the world. That is because Hans Vilsdorf, the creator of this world-renowned firm, spent large sums of money to advertise  the company to the whole world. Vilsdorf knew that watches of excellent quality firm will be included in everyday life instead of massive pocket watches. Indeed, in those  days watches were women’s fashion accessories,  pampering,  whim, and certainly not everyone could  afford to buy a watch. It was believed that the small size of the wrist watch does not allow to use a mechanism of good quality.  Visionary Hans Vilsdorf broke that stereotype, and, against all odds, created a product that even in our time does not lose competitiveness, as at present the Rolex company produces 650-800 thousand watches per year, but demand still exceeds supply.

Rolex is a leader in all – beginning from the price and ending with marketing strategies. It is hard to remember  some other brand that is oriented on only very rich consumers, and at the same time having the communication  directed to the masses. Most of the product range is designed for men, but there are models that will look good on the wrists of women wearing expensive jewelry and evening  dresses.

So, first of all in 1925 the company founder Hans  Uilsdorf, realizing the importance of advertising in brand promotion, has invested 100 thousand francs in the British  mass media to the Rolex name appeared  in news papers pages. The first visible step in marketing of a Rolex watch was a company with English stenographer  Mercedes Gieitze (in 1927): she swam across the English Channel in 15 hours and 15 minutes, carrying on her  wrist chronometer Rolex Oyster. This marketing approach was also used in the next decades, for example in 1953 a British expedition, led by John Hunt,  first reached the summit of Everest, and was equipped with  Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometers.

Thus, the company Rolex has always had the right marketing strategy. In the early 20 century advertising  of Rolex was simple, the center of advertisements was a visual image of the watches with a listing of product strengths and differences from other companies. 

Soon Rolex began to make special emphasis on praising the qualities of the product itself, the status of the chronometer and certificates received by Rolex. For example advertising message titled “Symbol”, published on Christmas Eve 1944, began with the phrase: “The limited production makes owning Rolex precious privilege”.

In the Rolex branding policy every detail is important. For example, signs of all shops that sell the company’s products are decorated with a recognizable crystal  prism, as an official dealer of Rolex – a subject of legitimate pride of the company, which gained the right to have this sign. Rolex is a strict selection of retail partners, are allowed to trade their products only to companies with a certain image, a larger area stores located in the most prestigious areas. In addition, partners  need to provide clients with a number of special  services, for example, to engrave the name of the buyer on the back of the watch.

Thus, by the end of the 20 century virtually the entire world at least once heard of Rolex. In any of the advertising research it was a brand with great recognizability, Rolex has become a social icon. Now the brand Rolex is still on top of the mountain, which is composed of thousands of brands. In 2008 the brand «Rolex» celebrated 100 anniversary. Other brands like Vacheron, Patek, Audemars, and Omega predate  Rolex, but only Rolex, the one and only, in the minds of consumers is the best and means “watches close to the ideal.”

We can say that such a strong position and place on the top the Rolex brand gained through proper brand positioning,  proper marketing strategy based on the concept of the uniqueness of the brand. It is therefore necessary to further consider the concept of the brand, its basic elements and fundamentals of positioning and brand promotion.

Theory of Brand and its elements

Brand can be identified a sum of intangible product attributes: its name, packaging and price, its history, reputation and fashion advertising. Brand also is a combination of experience, which he produces for consumers, and the result of their experience in using the brand. If the product has physical properties, different characteristics, it has a price, then the brand is rather from the realm of the senses, it is personal consumer sentiment, affection, trust and loyalty to the product.

At the heart of brand perception lies a set of ideas, views, images and associations. In the minds of the people they are connected with company’s concept, ideas, product or service. In the industry of luxury goods, to which the watch company Rolex belong, a brand is synonymous with the name of the company’s goods and services, all of these components complement each other.  The basis of the Rolex brand stems from its importance to others, it’s concept or brand image is built in accordance with its importance to the world. 

According to Keller “A good brand positioning establishes key points-of-difference, i.e., strong, favourable, and unique brand associations that drive consumer choice, as well as category and competitive points-of-party that establish category credentials and negate any potential advantage that competitors might try to exploit”. (Keller, 2007)

That is why when building and maintaining a brand it is important to highlight what the brand stands for and why it is interesting for others. The difficulty is that the brand represents the intangible area, it can not be touched, you can only feel the essence of the brand and more likely to present than to see it.

A brand is a way of communication between the company  and its clients, its fans. Brand also is an informational  basis of all methods of communication with the social environment. To market relations, these methods of communication include all advertising messages in a broad sense (direct advertising in the media, public relations campaigns and presentations, the entire visual range, including the design of signs, shop, the behavior of personnel through personal contact with customers, etc.

Very important to point out the brand identity, because it indicates the distinctive qualities of this particular  brand, its functional and emotional  characteristics.

The main characteristic elements of the brand are:

1. Brand Essence – its main content;

2. Brand Attributes – functional and emotional associations,  which are expressed by buyers and potential customers;

3. Brand Name – verbal part of the company name or word expression;

4. Brand Image – visual brand identity, formed by advertising  in the consumers mind

5. Brand Power – the level of brand awareness for the buyer, the strength of the brand;

6. Brand Identity – set of brand attributes which characterize its identity and uniquness;

7. Brand Value – valuations, rates;

8. Brand development Index – the degree of advancement of the brand;

9.  Brand Loyalty – degree of involvement of the brand in the target audience  and its individual segments.

Some brand attributes coincide with the common concept of Kotler and Keller “3 circles model of products attributes”. (Koller 2002)

It is necessary to point out such important brand element as Brand Image – that is a created  visual impression of the personality (it is impression but not  a rational assessment of the fact ). The concept or brand image is usually developed with special technology. This technology is intellectual, and is based on an analysis of the interaction between brand and consumers, the relationship between the brand and its social context. 

Thus, the brand image reflects the world of human emotions and social relationships .For luxury goods industry there are two basic social motives:

– The first is a motif of belonging to any group of people, corresponding to the principle of “I’m as good as the others.”

– The second common motif, which is applicable to the category of expensive luxury goods – is the prestige or status. A similar motif reflects the person’s position in the social society and conforms to the concept of prestigious consumption.

There are other motifs characteristic of the consumption of luxury goods industry. Concept of brand and brand image is built on the basis of motives of the most important target group. The creative concept of the brand, developing these motives, makes the certain good as expression of value to consumers, for example, such as raising their own self-esteem, social role, the popular image of the ideal and philosophy. That is why it is important that the advertising campaign should be a continuation of the concept and brand image: for example, for luxury goods is common a life-style concept.

The brand name Rolex as a symbol of his image:

• creates a positive attitude to the product and firm

• guarantees for buyers the product quality,

• creates a high level of expectations about its properties,

• provides a high reputation of the goods,

• increases its value in the eyes of consumers.

The Brand value is called a set of goodwill and good impressions. Creating and maintaining a positive attitude to the goods is an important indicator of loyalty to the brand (the degree of attractiveness of the product to consumers, high enough to ensure high demand and regular purchases). Brand value is confirmed by its characteristic features – prestige, fame, national or international recognition, stability and attractive position for a long period of time.

Brand image is a way to interact with target consumers, and the image in the mind of the consumer binds the good and the values of consumers. Image of the brand is aimed at long-term recognition of the good and company, and the formation of a clear understanding of the product. Image is transmitted through advertising of visual images and symbols, which are also called visual appeal – the main characters are a brand name and logo, while for consumers they represent the position of the brand. In other words, the logo and the name symbolize the intangible values that are important to target consumers. 

Building brand image involves activity of image makers, whose task is to analyze the image formation and target customers. Thus, the images of the brand combines:

– A rational component – special properties of consumer goods;

– Emotional and irrational component – a dream, a legend, personal history, especially attitudes and stereotypes of the consumer;

– The human factor – service standards. (Koller 2002)

Brand image for consumers is a way of orientation in goods and services, introducing the competitive advantages of this brand that is relevant to the target group of customers: product properties that distinguish it from similar products, rational and emotional benefits of using the product, the image of the goods, and service of buyers. Image organizes consumer perception with the choice of goods:

– the buyer compares the most important characteristics of the goods with  competing firms;

– the image of the goods contributes to a positive emotional impulse that causes a desire to buy this product;

– the final decision to buy depends on the emotional perception of the product and the brand, and on the assessment of consumer goods properties.

Based on the analysis of the brand and its attributes, as well as positioning of Rolex watches, we can make some recommendations for marketing concept and  further strategies for the next three years for a brand of Rolex.

Marketing Mix Program Recommendations

Speaking about the Rolex brand strategy, it is important to have a deep, rich understanding of what the brand currently stands for in the minds of customers, but also a clear picture of what the brand could or should stand for in the future.

According to the previous research, Rolex brand in its marketing and advertising strategies has always made emphasis on the product uniqueness, it’s highest quality technology and design – everything that makes Rolex watches best watches ever and forever trying to distinguish itself from its competitors. Having achieved world’s recognition and consumer’s loyalty, Rolex uses a strategy of reminding its customer of what the brand stands for.

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The findings of the Brand Audit showed that the Brand Elements and strategy of Rolex has been always successful, and are still quite powerful and effective, so any great changes, like replacement or overhaul, are not necessary. But taking into account the development of the market, and strong competitiveness in the luxury products market in the UAE , we can make few suggestions for modifications and additions that may help to strengthen the brand’s standing and refresh it’s recognition in the market.

That is, the marketing mix for the next three years must involve some new promotion steps, because the other concepts of Marketing Mix (product, place and price) are already defined in the current brand strategy (according to the Brand Audit).

In the process of developing the promotion program of brand the most important is the choice of communication channels within the defined plans and marketing strategies, ways to promote the brand, through which communication messages will reach out to the target audience. The selection of communication channels is carried out in accordance with the specific brand positioning and creative concept, identified goals, objectives and role of each of the selected channels of communication, a strategy for their use and interaction. Marketing communications are channels to deliver information about consumer characteristics of the brand to a targeted audience, and feedback mechanisms of the buyer with the brand owner. Based on the portrait of the target audience (values, preferences, expectations), the essence of communication messages and the budget of the brand in the market, the company chooses the most effective communication channels.

When speaking about promotion strategy of Rolex, I can propose to focus on event marketing. As the name implies, the basis of event marketing is an event, and often a set of special events organized to promote a product or service. We can say that, in terms of business objectives, a special event is a form of human involvement in the culture of the brand, corporate or other community organization  through his actions and feelings, because of this we can achieve long-term effects of event-marketing: affect both those who take part in it and even indirectly affect  those  who missed the event, but is the target group.

Event marketing is more interesting and more creative mean of promotion and advertising, that is why one of the most  promising areas of communications policy, but it should not be the only component of this policy. Often events are part of a mixed marketing campaign, acquiring popularity, comparable to the popularity of traditional advertising tools. It is necessary to attract the event-management and event-agencies, specializing in the development and organization of marketing activities. With their experience and connections in the industry, they are able to quickly and effectively coordinate the financial, technical and creative aspects of the event, and also make sure that it yielded the maximum effect. Event-agency will develop a package of creative and organizational proposals that provide the desired marketing result. Package of proposals (or program the company’s involvement in an event) may include a conceptual study, a scenario description of presentations, contests and entertainment events, suggestions for organizing promotional company, a list of advertising support, etc. The agency will forecast the effect of carrying out the program, opportunities for public, cultural and social resonance. To implement the program agency attracts professional performing resources and complete control over its implementation. Agency creates the ideal conditions of pastime of the target audience, which at the same time correspond to the strategy of advertising campaigns.

Using techniques of event-marketing in the future may bring the company’s Rolex a number of advantages that are not available through traditional advertising tools:

1. Based on all available means of advertising, PR and VTL, event marketing operates in different directions, selectively expanding sector coverage of the target audience.

2. The event is an occasion to bring about the desired contact with journalists, gives scope for a multi-stage operation with journalists, generates their interest and location.

3. People attend a special event volunteer, so they do not feel that marketing information is imposed upon them from outside.

4. Group generates a massive emotion, stronger, creating the phenomenon of unity, of belonging to something common: the brand is actually the style of life.

5. Positive emotions from successful activities are transferred to the product or service, customer loyalty is formed.

6. Image of events can be widely used in the construction of a planned advertising campaign of the company.

7. Campaign based on event marketing, has a “long lasting effect,” since long before the event begins in announcements, posters, invitations, press conferences, and continues to follow the final performances, touring and, of course, mass media publications.

8. Audience that is directly involved in the event can be viewed as a huge focus group, which accumulate prior knowledge about the consumers.

A luxury event for celebrities and rich people can become good promotional tool for Rolex brand, that will focus publics attention on it and remind about the brand image and unique status in comparison to competing companies. A luxury event is good idea for UAE, as there people prefer luxury events, example may be prestigious sport competitions: like horse racing, yachting, tennis, especially because rolex has always been present and supported different sport competitions and events.


Brand. Rolex is for over 100 years successfully represented all over the world, continues to grow,  gaining more and more new customers. Further  development of the company and its strategy during next 3 years will be implemented in accordance with the permanent components of the brand design elements: excellent quality, luxury, beauty and prestige – it is  these brand elements will be emphasized and further marketing  strategy. In addition to the permanent components of the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, advertising) has been proposed to use new means of promotion, such as event-marketing, which will help to draw attention to the brand and should bring a brand new  popularity and competitiveness.


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