It’s a story that starts with a chance meeting between two women. Cecile and I met two years ago after she read an article I had published. Cecile was the new owner of the Marvin brand. She knew the internet would be key to reviving and growing her brand but had no idea where to begin.
So we spend countless hours together working on strategy and figuring out how we could use the internet to propel Marvin to success. At the end, we came up with a vision and a plan to execute it.
I can tell you unequivocally that it took Cecile a lot of courage to get where we are today. Our mutual trust and passion for Marvin spearheaded our effort. And I believe it will propel Marvin to the forefront of the industry.
The site might seem simplistic at first, but I assure you that in the horology industry, it’s a disruptive first. We broke all the entrenched rules of the classic luxury online experience. Namely, single-sided communication and lack of openness.
The site is not based on Flash and puts the viewer in the driver’s seat. You’ll have to go to existing watch sites to realize how backwards they can be. I’m not suggesting Flash is backwards (as a matter of fact we do make some use of it) but it’s the « we want to control everything » aspect I despise.
Visitors are free to browse the entire collection at will. And you can bookmark pages directly without having to reiterate through a tedious introduction every time.
The Mood Generator is a concept based on a popular game. You click on one or more moods, and the site matches them to corresponding watch models for your perusal. There’s also a little « surprise » hidden behind one of the moods, but that’s for you to discover on your own. We wanted to create a unique experience for all sorts of viewers. Because every visitor doesn’t necessarily navigate or browse the same way. And consequently, the site should be flexible and rich enough to satisfy everyone.
We stayed away from Flash because it’s not a good SEO enabler. That and the fact we focus a lot on usability. We used Typo3 and leveraged its rich extensibility to our advantage.
It’s all about community building
The site has all the real time links people might need to communicate instantly with Marvin on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. The centerpiece of this community effort is Jerome. You can’t just whip up a Twitter account and call yourself a true Web 2.0 company. You need editorial vision and a solid social media strategy. But more importantly, you need the right inside people to manage and grow it.
From the very beginning, we pushed hard for Marvin to hire a full time community manager. Marvin’s internet strategy is international in nature but also focused on the US so they needed a native who knew and understood the American market. Jerome quickly became a natural choice for the job, and we are now actively working with him to implement our plans.
An online store and then some…
But the big industry novelty will be Marvin’s online store. We are targeting the BaselWorld 2010 timeframe for initial release. Many watch companies have web-based shopping sites, but the Marvin online experience we are cooking up will be unique in the Swiss luxury watch industry.
An extraordinary partner and total « carte blanche »
We were really lucky to work with such an exceptional client. Marvin was a genuine partner in this effort. From day one, we worked with Cecile, Jean François Ruchonnet, and Marvin staff hand in hand. In the process, we lived and breathed the brand for several years and discovered, little by little, what the brand « genes » were all about. This allowed us to create an online experience that truly represents the style and soul of the company.
Marvin put their faith in our expertize and trusted us relentlessly. We made decisions together and worked iteratively. And we gave them the tools and techniques they would need to handle online analytics, marketing campaigns and content management on their own. They are now empowered to go out and conquer the online world.
A promising future
Marvin’s goal was to leverage the web to offer a truly unique experience to its fans and customers. What we’re after is wowing and bringing together fans of this 150 year old brand worldwide.
The Marvin brand has always stood for contemporary timelessness. This brand DNA is also present in Cecile’s own genes who was quite obviously destined to carry the Marvin torch.
Try the mood generator