Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Sustainability, craftsmanship, and emotions have been in the focus of marketing activities of Chopard Japan during the year just ended. The Swiss brand headquartered in Geneva and founded 160 years ago, is famous for making high-quality Swiss watches with its signature free-floating diamond behind sapphire glass and its diamond jewelry for women. In Japan, the brand operated for a long time in collaboration with a watch distributor, then established “Chopard Japan” in 2006.
"Ethical gold" initiative
According to Thomas Döbeli, country manager of Chopard Japan, sustainability was the marketing buzz word of the year 2019, making a splash first in the luxury fashion industry and recently in the jewelry and watch industry. “As the first and only brand so far which produces all its jewelry and timepieces with ‘ethical gold,’ Chopard is undoubtedly a leader in this respect,” Mr. Döbeli said. The term “ethical” describes gold produced under fair and sustainable conditions. Chopard Japan had announced the initiative with a big event at the Embassy of Switzerland in 2018. Last year, together with the relaunch of its Alpine Eagle watch collection, the Swiss luxury brand entered a partnership with BirdLife International, whose honorary chairman is the Japanese Princess Takamado.
Chopard Japan also adopted another new marketing trend that wants to engage customers in activities. “The keyword of this trend is experience,” Mr. Döbeli explained. The marketing has shifted from the product to the story around the product and the client experiencing it. “The intention is to engage the customer with the brand,” said the country manager. For example, Chopard Japan entertained clients with a meet-and-greet with opera maestro Jose Carreras, a wine pairing tasting with matching watches and a collaborative event with the Swiss cosmetic brand “La Prairie.”
The biggest annual sales event was the “Chopard Red Carpet Fair” in September, which introduced the world of the Cannes Film Festival to clients. On this occasion, the company exhibited the “Palme d’Or,” the Cannes award trophy designed and produced by Chopard in Geneva. In 2018, the Japanese movie director Hirokazu Koreeda won the prize. This event helped Chopard to increase the awareness of the Palme d’Or and its connection to Japan.
New brand tagline
This marketing development has also led to the creation and promotion of exhibitions in museums and other unique locations. “They are not intended for sales, although sometimes, they may be linked to sales activities,” he said. Brands like Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Hermes, and Chanel would be very active in this regard. Such events aim not only to develop new potential clients, but they also want to communicate “craftsmanship” and “authenticity,” two other new fundamental values in luxury brand communication.
Chopard Japan found its way to emphasize these two topics with its “Artisan of Emotions” pop-up store at Shinjuku Isetan. The new brand tagline “Artisan of Emotions” aims to transmit the subject of craftsmanship as well as “emotions” achieved through the experience and engagement of the clients. Chopard used this pop-up store to spread its brand message via social media by inviting the Japanese model Makiko Takizawa to participate in a talk-show.
In April, Chopard celebrated the worldwide launch of its new Mille Miglia watch at Tenryu Temple in Kyoto, which coincided with the classic car event “Concorso d’Eleganza” at Nijo Castle. The Swiss company used this opportunity for a series of events for clients, business partners, and media. For example, it staged a talk-show about car and watch design with co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and the chief designer of Zagato as participants.
This independent, family-owned Italian luxury car design and construction company co-designed Chopard’s new watch model of 2019. At the classic car event, Chopard also produced a promotion movie for the new Mille Miglia watch for later worldwide use. “This global product launch was unique for us and Japan and helped us strongly to increase our reach as a luxury brand,” Mr. Döbeli added. Last, but not least, Chopard relaunched the iconic Alpine Eagle watch collection on October 1. Besides its story of 3 generations of gentlemen from the Chopard owner family who developed this collection together, with its unique ‘lucent steel’ specifically developed for this watch, it pays tribute to craftsmanship and sustainability,” country manager Döbeli summed up the successful year 2019.
Text: SCCIJ based on materials of Chopard Japan; Pictures: © Chopard Japan