Storm co-founder Anna Lee speaks to WatchPro ahead of exhibiting at International Jewellery London that takes over London’s Olympia during 4-6 September.
What are your brand’s goals in the UK in 2016?
- Our main goal for 2016 is to gain a new, younger customer. Being in the market for almost 30 years, our loyal customers have grown up with the brand. We feel very lucky to have these loyal customers who have an average of over 10 watches in their collection (not to mention the Storm army who have over 100 watches in their collections or our Storm super fan who currently has 402 watches!) We still feel like the younger generation are not as aware of the brand and what it has to offer.
- To strengthen our brand image and brand identity we aim to produce more Storm core signature pieces, rather than cater to a very broad market.
- We are consistently striving to have a closer relationship with new and existing stockists, and building a stronger bond is one of our key goals for 2016.
- Our advertising campaign for 2016 has a new and fresh look which maintains the Storm brand image and identity. We hope that by Christmas the whole of the UK will be covered with ‘Hands’ – the main visual concept to support our unique products. Going forward, we plan to invest more on PR and marketing, thus allowing for increased awareness and brand value on a global scale.
What progress have you made in the last 12 months?
There were many highs this year with the key one being the re-branding of Storm. Storm was known for its underground look where all products were displayed on a sleek black background. Black was the main brand colour for many years. In 2015 we invested a lot of time and money into the redesigning of our POS material and the implementation of the new look within our advertising campaign, not forgetting the complete transformation of the Storm website. These changes had a major effect on UK sales as well as in the other 45 countries where Storm is represented.
We are proud to say that our new modern website still reflects a contemporary sleek look which the brand is well known for. The new website provides our customers with more information for each product, with visible product specifications and clearly bullet pointed features and functions. The quality of the product images has also greatly improved, allowing customers to see every last detail of the product in great depth. In addition to this, since December 2015 we became a Google Certified Shop. The feedback left by our customers gave us a total score of 5.0 which is higher than most other fashion retailers.
2015 was also the year that saw Storm make a TV comeback. After a long break from this channel of advertising we wanted to come up with something snappy, catchy and different to what’s normally seen on TV. Our TV ad was highly commended among PR specialists and among our loyal and newly gained customers. This important change in our Christmas campaign allowed us to increase brand awareness and surpass our sales targets.
Being predominantly a wholesale business, 2015 was particularly important for us in gaining greater presence within the UK’s biggest chain stores and online. On watchshop.com itself we were up almost 60% in 2015. With this high demand we were also able to launch the Storm jewellery range there to complement our extended watch range. In Debenhams we became the 2nd best-selling fashion watch brand.
Also, we heavily invested in our bespoke window and cabinet graphics service. This is a service we provide free or charge to all of our retailers every six months. We dress their windows and cabinets with strong Storm branding (including design and vinyls) which gives us greater brand awareness within the store. This strategy has performed very well for us and has enabled us to double brand presence and increase sales for our customers. As a result of this we were up by 10% in a major watch and jewellery chain store. They said that they felt our marketing campaign was really strong last year and that the Storm brand remains unique in comparison to others in the industry.
What are you looking to achieve by exhibiting at IJL?
We go there to meet with our existing UK and Irish customers, to show them the new collections, but also to pick up new business along the way. It’s a great place for us to market the brand and remind potential customers that we are still a brand to be reckoned with.
What will you be showcasing?
We will be showcasing our full collection of men’s and women’s watches and Jewellery. It will also be the platform for the launch of our new collection.
What is it you like about the IJL formula?
There’s always an interesting mix of both known commercial brands together with up-and-coming brands, there’s always something fresh and exciting to see, we enjoy being a part of that.
WatchPro has joined forces with International Jewellery London (IJL) to develop the ‘Watch Hour’ – a dedicated schedule of media coverage, seminars and support for watch brands due to exhibit at IJL between 4-6 September 2016. To find out more click here.