Tourneau

You can see some of the new brand here at www.tourneau.com.

But to experience what’s really happening with the rebirth of this 100 year old company, you’ll need to take a trip to New York. Things have changed from the top down and the carpet up.

In early 2010 we were summoned to New York by the relentlessly high-energy, relentlessly high-end retail group of consultants that was advising Tourneau. Little did we realise how important that energy would become.

We started things off like any good tourist – by visiting a Tourneau store. Physically we were confronted by a barrier of the different watch brand’s cabinets. There were 90 watch brands in there, but not a single thread of evidence of a Tourneau brand or story.

The store was the biggest in the world – but that hadn’t been enough (they’d recently been acquired by a private equity firm) and that wouldn’t be enough: high-end brands were setting up their own dedicated boutiques, department stores were attacking the mid-range and the internet promises a wider selection than even Tourneau can carry and comes with clear, independent advice. Things had to change.

Capturing and bottling that relentless high energy, we crashed through the first workshop. Things were clearer – but only about how empty the brand had become. Another session, this time with renowned architects 8 Inc. (you’ve probably worshipped at one of their churches – they designed the Apple Store) and we were clearer, but no nearer.

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We came back to the UK and started comparing the brand to what else was happening in the offline and online retail world. We cycled through a number of brand development tactics. We looked again at the online world. And then gave up and went for a coffee. Which is where inspiration struck.

In our local Nespresso store, we looked around and realised that the brand is fun because it does such a good job of introducing people to the different coffees of the world. We thought back to the over-eager salesman who’d accompanied us around the store… he scored 10/10 for persistence, that was for sure. But what he was really trying to do was share his passion with us: he really did care about the different brands. What he wanted to do was be our guide.

We realised that more than anything, everyone at Tourneau doesn’t just want to sell us a watch, they were as passionate about the objects as we the shoppers were. As we discussed this with Tourneau’s brand team and the consultants, we had the breakthrough thought: At Tourneau, we don’t sell watches. We help people discover them.

Tourneau 2

After that, things started moving quickly. Like all good strategic brand thoughts, ad lines and brand ideas soon suggested themselves. We realised that the store needed to allow us to flow around the beautiful objects in the glass cases, instead of using the glass cases as a barrier. We needed all that independent advice that’s available on the internet brought into the store, and shared intelligently with the customers. We needed magazines about watches to kindle our passion. And we probably needed a ‘shearing shed’ where we could sit and sign the cheque.

We developed more advertising and positioning lines. We met with the team to talk about a new verbal identity for the brand, one which would reflect this sense of guided discovery.

8 Inc. started on a new store (on Madison Avenue), and while builders worked on that night and day, another type of builders worked on the website. We were asked back in recently to tweak the final verbal identity of the copy on the site and now the new Tourneau brand is born.

Next time you’re in NY, drop in. Even if you don’t want to buy a watch, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to buy a watch.

Our thanks to Mr Jim Seuss CEO and the team at Tourneau; Susy Korb & Susan Towers, (Nice Partnership).