As part of Glion’s Luxury Brand Management in Hospitality specialization, many external guest speakers and lecturers visit our campuses to share their professional experience and provide our students with some useful tips for their future careers.

Recently, we welcomed David Rofeh, CEO and Founder of Brand Equity Capital, who shared with us his extensive experience of conducting marketing and communications for luxury brands.

A career in luxury

After completing his Master’s degree in Marketing and Communications, David started his career in 2000. His first role saw him work for one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, FCB Global, in their Los Angeles office.

Still, born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a Swiss town known for its watchmaking, it came as no surprise that David wanted to enter that particular line of work. He soon secured work with Geneva-based watch brand Raymond Weil, overseeing both sales and marketing, respectively, during his tenure.

David then joined Audemars Piguet, a highly prestigious watchmaking company and one of the world’s most aspirational brands. Over the course of five years, David oversaw sales training and then brand communication, where he played an active role in the brand rejuvenation and the creation of a new advertising campaign. Six years on, the latter is still successfully being used.

After leaving Audemars Piguet, David’s next challenge saw him be appointed International Marketing Director at Maurice Lacroix, where his mission was to reposition the brand to a new price segment.

Today, he is successfully leading Brand Equity Capital – a consulting company founded by David himself, focusing on M&A in the field of watchmaking and luxury.

Effective digital marketing on strict budgets

In his talk, David provided an outsider’s perspective on digital marketing and sponsorship agreements. The aim was to help our students understand how to exploit the opportunities given by digital marketing in the context of restricted budget. “Even in the luxury industry, the times when you had an unlimited budget are over,” David said. David mentioned that digital marketing has changed the rules of the game, and professionals like him had to adapt quickly in order to stay ahead of the competition.

David shared a real-life case study with our students, asking them to have a critical look and devise a new way of solving it. The case study entailed a crisis the watchmaking industry faced in 2015, which included the rise of smart watches and the reduction of money spent on luxury brands. The students had to find ways of efficiently marketing the brand given in the case study, even though the budget was not great and the industry was facing these issues.

The importance of brand ambassadors

David also discussed sponsorships, which involves hiring famous stars to wear and endorse products. He explained why the watches choose sportsmen to advertise their products. He also highlighted the impact of digital networks – sometimes you can be contacted by someone through social media offering you a partnership or sponsorship, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears open at all times.

David also shared some tips on what to do after assuring a sponsorship deal and how to communicate it:

  • Announce the news during a special occasion – however, don’t give out the details all at once
  • Involve the brand ambassadors in creating buzz
  • Be creative and do something different
  • Involve your target audience in the creative process
  • Use social media efficiently
  • Use the online awareness of your sponsoring partner to grow your own awareness
  • Measure the results of your strategy

Our students learned a number of key things from David’s talk. They found out that in digital marketing budget is key, and that you should always be aiming to outsmart the competition. You should also remain focused on one sponsoring at the time, get the right people to work in the team and work with the right external agencies.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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