Last week the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) hosted the 27th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) event held in Geneva, Switzerland, featuring 30 brand exhibitors, 1,200 press and journalist attendees, and even more retailers, executives, collectors, and those merely fascinated by watches.
Like in years past, SIHH is the meeting point to exchange on new trends, products and collections, and discoveries in the world of luxury watches. In addition to industry professionals, more and more celebrity brand ambassadors and famed “friends” of brands were in attendance in 2017. With experience in partnering with luxury brands and measuring digital influence in China, Digital Luxury Group (parent company of Luxury Society) and simplyBrand set out to measure the digital impact of the star power in attendance at SIHH among a Chinese audience.
From early December 2016 and leading up to the event days, the buzz surrounding SIHH on China’s main social platforms reached nearly 75,000 posts and articles between Weibo and WeChat. At a broad level, Weibo captured nearly 90% of that buzz, confirming that it continues to be the most relevant platform to drive widespread exposure and serve as a newsfeed for up to date luxury brand content for its users.
Across all the buzz, #2017sihh# was the most used hashtag to drive exposure. Among media and aggregators who took hold of acting as the online ‘moderator’ of a specific hashtag, like Sina Style (新浪尚品) for #2017sihh#, the tactic boosted their reach and engagement even more.
Daily tracking of online mentions followed a consistent linear pattern in the weeks before the event, and during the event peaked with a Weibo post by Wu Qilong (Nicky Wu) (whose recent wedding to actress Liu Shishi marked a boon for De Beers) when he showcased images of his visit to the Audemars Piguet booth, generating nearly 110,000 retweets, comments, and likes.
Among exhibitors, the top 5 watch brands with the most mentions online composed more than 50% of the total event buzz. Looking closer at the most engaging brands online, brands including Audemars Piguet, Piaget, and Montblanc, were able to generate significantly more engagement with their online audiences by giving strong visibility to their celebrity brand ambassadors and friends of the brand, rather than their products and collections alone.
Considering the share of buzz and engagement, Chinese netizens continue to show a stronger interest in and resonance to local celebrities. Brand ambassadors and friends of brands like Montblanc’s celebrity brand ambassador, Gui Lunmei 桂纶镁, showcased their experience at SIHH in different ways to connect with their audience and share more intimate views of the event. While Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and media from related industry categories, like fashion KOL Mr. Jiliang (吉良先生), and media players like Sohu Fashion, shared their take on the event, reaching and engaging with even more diverse networks of online audiences.
This year’s SIHH demonstrated yet again the importance of collaborating with local celebrities, KOLs, and media, in order to tap into the online Chinese audience of watch aficionados.