IWC Chief Reveals Key to Successful Partnerships
Some companies are willing to sign on just about any remotely famous person as a brand ambassador, whether the celeb knows anything about the product or not. IWC Schaffhausen is a notable exception, and in an interview with Hautetime, the brand’s Global Head of Sponsorship and Partnerships Yan Lefort discussed how the brand keeps it real in the world of celebrity endorsements.
Current IWC ambassadors Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are examples of the type of famous names that IWC has connected to its brand. Lefort explained what the company looks for in a brand ambassador and the way it operates in general.
“Authenticity,” said Lefort. “Authenticity is part of everything that we do. We need to be authentic when we talk about the brand, when we talk about the product. Without it you can’t be credible, and you cannot build on top of a brand that is not credible. Especially when you’re talking about luxury products with this sort of price tag.”
Lefort expects this authenticity and credibility to be reflected by the celebrities representing IWC to the public. “We work with our ambassadors in a very specific way. There needs to be true interest from these people towards the brand, towards the product and the people behind it. And they need to be convinced,” said Lefort. “We don’t do testimonials for example. Most of them have been there for many, many years, so it’s a genuine relationship. They’re really involved.”
Lefort’s ingenuity showed in the way that IWC approached using Formula One racing to showcase the Ingenieur models. “Many brands (not just watch brands) make the mistake of going into F1 with a communication strategy based entirely on winning. But only one team can win. So if you’re not that team, your whole story is dead. So we didn’t have that approach at all when we joined Formula One,” Lefort explained.
“The whole point for us was to showcase the behind-the-scenes of F1 with the Ingenieur through performance and innovative materials. When the team started winning of course it gave more visibility and more emphasis but it was never part of the core strategy. It’s the icing on the cake and it looks like this year is also going to be a great year for IWC.”