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How Successful Is Rolex Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2886 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Rolex is among the top ranked luxury brands in the wristwatch industry that has created its distinctive position in the market by targeting only affluent people. Rolex has been targeting niche market since its initial days; the main aim of the company is to provide quality seeking people with the best wristwatches that have been designed with superior quality raw materials and people who have expertise in this field. The watches are developed with highly experienced and well-trained people who have thorough knowledge and understanding about the wristwatch designing and manufacturing.

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In order to reach the right target market, Rolex has made a drastic changed in its marketing strategy by moving from traditional mediums such as Television Advertisements and advertisements in newspapers and magazines to celebrity endorsements such as Roger Federer and events sponsorships; both of these elements have created a new image in the market. As people are willing to invest in those brands that will enhance their relationship with their favorite personalities, Rolex has capitalized on this aspect.

The primary research conducted among the college students revealed that they are willing to own Rolex brand as it helps them in developing an association with their favorite star. Hence, Rolex is doing aggressive marketing so that it can capture the attention of its target market, enhance its distinctive image worldwide and keep on making valuable contribution in the wristwatch industry.


In luxury wristwatches industry, Rolex is the leading name and it has become a status symbol worldwide. Since Rolex has been meeting the demands of its customers for so many years and has become among the top hundred brands of the world, it is of great interest to know the secret of the success of Rolex. One of the important aspects of every brand is its marketing strategy because it gives it a sense of direction about the efforts that need to be done so that it can capture the attention of its target market and convey positive message to its customers (Key Note, 2011).

Research Objectives and Questions

The main research objectives of this study are:

To gather information about top brands of wristwatch industry.

To identify the marketing activities conducted by Rolex to attract the customers.

To evaluate the image held by the customers about Rolex brand.

In order to understand the current marketing strategy employed by Rolex, following research questions will be addressed to achieve the objectives of the study:

Why is Rolex such a successful brand?

What is the marketing strategy followed by Rolex to maintain its position in the market?

Why are the customers of Rolex satisfied with its wristwatches?

Importance of the Study

The study will help in understanding the importance of marketing strategy in creating right positioning in the market. When the marketing strategies of top ranked brands are studied, an in-depth understanding about the relevant topic can be developed. Rolex’s current marketing strategy will assist in analyzing the success of Rolex in such dynamic and competitive wristwatch industry.

Limitations of the Study

The scope of the research is limited as there are both time and resource constraints. The research is exploratory in nature and it is comprised of questionnaire-survey. The questionnaire has been designed in consensus with the previous work done by some authors as the questions are designed in accordance with the variables identified to be studied for the research purpose which is discussed in the Literature Review section. The availability of pure study of the subject was another constraint as the researcher is inexperienced and may lack certain skills which can affect the research paper.

Literature Review

Brief Introduction of Rolex

Whenever a customer wears Rolex watch, it enhances the person’s personality which makes a statement that the person has a great taste of style and fashion (Gautschi, 2005). Since Rolex watches are designed exclusively for upper class, only selected group of people can enjoy the prestige of owning the brand. Rolex has been in the market since 1995 and it is has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It has employed more than four thousand watchmakers in about one hundred countries (Mulier, 2010).

Rolex was the first brand to introduce waterproof watch in the year 1926. All of the watches are designed with fine quality materials and everything is done in detail so that there are no defects in the final products (Brandz, 2010). In order to build a successful brand in the market, it is important for the companies to focus on development of realistic and well-designed marketing strategy that will support them in achieving their desired objectives (Wansink, 2003). Likewise, brand equity, brand image and marketing strategy are the main areas of studying a brand as they help in determining the factors that influence the customers to make a purchasing decision (Saha, 2012).

Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy is one of the key elements of every business plan because the mediums that can be used to reach the target market have to be selected carefully. It is important for an organization to design its marketing strategy on the basis of two most important factors i.e. who is being targeted (target market profile) and which mediums will be applicable for communicating right message about the brand (Keller, 2008). Like any business plan, marketing strategy has a set of objectives that a company wants to achieve for its survival in the market; the key to developing right position in the market is to develop a set of goals on the basis of critical factors which will also help a company to monitor the effectiveness of its marketing strategy (Rao, Agrawal & Dahlhoff, 2004).

A good marketing strategy is one that is developed with the consensus of the management team of a company and its employees so that there are fewer chances that any important point is overlooked (World Watch Report, 2012). In order to develop an effective marketing strategy, the foremost thing to consider is the target market as it will give an indication about the direction that the company should follow to achieve its goals. An ideal strategy is one that makes the best use of both traditional and online marketing mediums to create, maintain and strengthen its position in the market (Coupland, 2005).

In order to attract the customers appropriately, the best way is to design a marketing strategy that has a perfect blend of Above-the-line (ATL) activities and Below-the-line (BTL) activities along with Public Relations and promotional activities (Key Note, 2011). ATL activities comprise of Advertisements on Television and Radio and in newspapers and magazine; all of these forms require heavy amount of investment. BTL activities include brochures, leaflets, billboards, flyers, buntings and etc.; the cost of these activities is comparatively less than that of ATL activities. The marketing activities of each company is determined that is compatible with the type of product or service offering, the target audience and marketing budget (Brandz, 2010).

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For instance, the marketing activities of Unilever comprise of advertisements, sponsorship of events, promotional offers, billboards and celebrity endorsements. Standard Chartered uses the ATL and BTL activities for consumer segment and one to one marketing for the business segment. Hence, every organization and brand has to ensure that it designs a marketing strategy after doing careful market analysis as it has to gather information about the activities that competitors are doing, the latest trend in the market, customer’s changing needs, changes in business environment and modification in trade policies worldwide (Gautschi, 2005).

Marketing Strategy of Rolex

The two main elements of Rolex strategy are tradition and conservatism which means that it has the same product and same communication strategy for decades. The communication strategy is unique that complements the differentiation constituent of its products that has enabled the company to maintain its competitive edge in the wristwatch industry. When the brand started growing in popularity, it kept nurturing itself and added celebrity endorsement so that the customers can develop an association with the brand (Saha, 2012).

One interesting fact about Rolex strategy is that it has created a ‘mystery’ element around its brand which has been an appealing feature for the customers (Brandz, 2010). It has been considered as a male watch for a long period and it has started to penetrate slowly into the female wristwatch market. The backward vertical integration is done by the company so that future supply can be secured and there is less competition within the industry. From the study of Rolex advertisements and marketing activities such as sponsorship of events, it is evident that its marketing strategy is truly a sponsorship and celebrity endorsement strategy.

There are two distinctive categories of advertisement done by Rolex i.e. celebrity endorsements and pure product campaigns. The most commonly used medium of advertisements is publishing ads in newspapers and magazines, running Television Commercials and displaying billboards. However, celebrity endorsement is done at a wider level as it helps in developing a luxury brand image. In order to understand the effectiveness of Rolex marketing strategy, Brandz (2010) and Mullier (2010) conducted researches to evaluate the impact of celebrity endorsement on the customers; the survey was carried out and it was found that people buy Rolex because it allows the user to experience the sensation of being a celebrity and wearing the watch enhances the personality of the person as it makes a person stand out from the crowd.

The endorsements by celebrity also helps in getting trust of the customers as they believe that any endorsement done by a well-known personality emphasizes that the product or service is genuine and it is worth giving so much money. Most people buy luxury goods so that they can have some similarity with their favorite personalities; hence, Rolex is using this strategy to capture its customers and has been successful in increasing its market share at a faster pace (World Watch Report).

In this research, the key terminologies that are studied are brand association, customer loyalty and celebrity endorsement. Brand association is the sense of belonging that the customer develops when using a particular brand, customer loyalty is the customer’s desire of purchasing the same brand on repeated basis and celebrity endorsement is using celebrities in the advertisement to promote a brand (Keller, 2008).

Research Methodology

The nature of the research is both qualitative and quantitative as the topic is vast and there are no concrete definitions available for the concepts that are being studied i.e. brand association, marketing strategy, customer loyalty and celebrity endorsement. Since the human factors are being studied, it is important that after gathering sufficient theoretical knowledge, the data collected is analyzed properly. The data is collected by conducting both primary and secondary researches. The secondary sources of information are compiled mainly from the research journals and articles along with the books available on many online stores. The variables for the study are deduced after careful evaluation of all factors. The variables have been defined in detail so that an understanding about the purpose of research can be easily developed.

The primary data is collected by conducting a small survey that comprise of fifty respondents. Online data collection method was used to reach the respondents as contacting them via email was the easiest method. The sampling method used was convenience sampling as all the respondents were college students and accessing data via online survey was the most feasible option. When the questionnaire was developed, a pilot test was done on ten respondents to determine the understanding capability of the respondents and to ensure that the respondents had no difficulty in the questionnaires.

The questionnaire comprised on ten structured questions so that the respondents had to select the option that best met their opinion. The main aim of this survey was to identify the image of Rolex in young people and also to determine the meaning of brand association in this market. Although the brand is considered to be a luxury brand but it is vital to get the viewpoint of the customers to understand the factors that led to the development of such image. The questions revolved around the key concepts i.e. brand association, customer loyalty and celebrity endorsement. Other factors that can impact the marketing strategy were studied to identify the extent to which they can have impact on the customers such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, ethical practices, environmental friendly policies and business operations, Public Relations and many more.

Since the response rate is slow in online data collection method, the entire data was collected in ten days. When some of the respondents gave half-filled questionnaires, they were asked to fill them again and submit a completely filled questionnaire. Some interviews were also planned with Rolex marketing people but due to some important project, interview sessions were not conducted; otherwise, the information would have been more authentic and up-to-date. Once the data was collected, it was then entered in the excel sheet which was later used for in-depth analysis.

When data analysis was done, undue care was given to the tools used for analysis. Since the main purpose was to understand Rolex association in customer’s minds, the analysis was kept simple as most of the data is presented in descriptive statistics i.e. frequency, percentage, means and etc. so that readers can easily understand the findings of the research. The main problems encountered during the research were slow response rate and cancellation of interviews with Rolex’s marketing department people.


The data collected from primary and secondary researches showed that the luxury brands in the wristwatch industry are Rolex, Omega, Dior, Cartier, Tag Heuer and Swatch. Majority of the people ranked Rolex and Cartier as the best luxury brands that have high quality and give the users a sense of pride for owning the watch of leading brands. The key factor that influenced in creation of such perception was the celebrity endorsement. More than 80% of the respondents that they get attracted those advertisements that have their favorite personalities or celebrities as they know that the person will tell the truth about the brand.

Almost 70% of the respondents agreed that they buy a brand because they want to develop an association with their favorite star and want to share something similar so that they can enjoy the feeling of belongingness with their aspiring personality. The respondents agreed that Rolex is a luxury brand and they can only recall those ads that had some celebrity in them as it is easier to recall a brand in this way. Only 60% of the respondents were aware of CSR activities and sponsored events organized by Rolex; it shows that the celebrity endorsement strategy works best for Rolex customers.

From the primary research, it was found that only 10% had a Rolex watch which was given to them as a gift; remaining 90% agreed that the price of Rolex watches is high and only few people can afford to buy them. Even when such luxury brand watches are bought, they need to be handled with care because slight negligence can cause huge amount of repairing cost. The respondents believe that there should be a separate line of watches for those people who are looking for premium quality watches but at affordable rates.


Rolex is a luxury brand that can be bought by only selected group of people; the company has clarity about its target market and has designed its marketing strategy in accordance with the market requirements. The current marketing strategy used by Rolex comprises of celebrity endorsement and sponsoring of events. Majority of the advertisements are placed in magazines and newspapers of elite class so that they can be informed about the watches. When new watch is introduced by the company, advertisements are run on Television so that awareness about the product can be created.

Rolex has created distinctive image in the market by portraying itself as the luxurious brand that is worn by celebrities. Everyone who wants to develop an association with any of the favorite personalities is buying and using Rolex watches. Hence, the marketing strategy used by Rolex has helped it in achieving its set goals of marketing strategy and it has positioned itself distinctively from its competitors.


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