WATCH WATCH: Jonathan Crocker on being a brand

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Managing director of Vaeta Consultancy on his relaunch of ELLE-Time.

As an independent consultant I have the fortune to be involved in a wide range of activities from a broad selection of industries. I specialise in brands and particularly luxury ones – it stems from the 12 years I spent at Bang & Olufsen, hard to shake, but then, who would want to?

One of my clients is a group of highly motivated and talented individuals who have revitalised the brand ELLE-Time. The company Top Brands, led by the very charismatic Kineret Cohen is amongst the most dynamic that I have worked with. As I write this, we are on course to Basel, where this work will be visible for the first time.

The plan is to launch the brand globally, market by market – in the most part through distributors. This as I am sure you are aware is no small task and has presented many challenges and not a few surprises. One of these challenges is finding the space for another brand in a very crowded part of the market, where fashion meets time.

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Everybody wants to be a brand – at least it seems that way to me – and in my day job I spend more energy on the “what it means to be a brand” question that almost any other. For me it is an uncompromising ability to be exactly who you are in every way. It is not enough to have the name, the store concept, the award winning marketing campaign or world-class customer service – these are rhetorical (or at least should be in a brand.)

It is more about taking these elements and connecting with your customer, whether a distributor, retailer or consumer, in a very personal way – after all, one of my definitions of luxury is “stuff that people don’t need, but do not want to live without”. This personal connection is vital and where distribution success lives or dies. It relies almost entirely on local application of the brands values, in ELLE-Time’s case through distributors. No mean feat and occupies the salaries of countless brands regional directors globally as a full time mission.

Our strategic planning and subsequent activity at ELLE-Time has led us to build a solid foundation to launch from, we have a brand name, globally recognised and the biggest name in fashion, we have built the brand tools from store concept to marketing campaign and of course most importantly we have time pieces of the style and quality that will be demanded of by a true brand.

We now have the most important challenge of finding the right partners to work with here in the UK. An exciting challenge, and one that requires many more words than this short excerpt to fully explore – I hope at some point we will have the opportunities to discuss it together, preferably over a drink – branded of course.

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