Corum Customise your Bubble: a genuinely good idea?
The purpose of Corum’s online experiment was to give the general public the chance to create their own Bubble. It was an unprecedented concept, particularly for the watchmaking industry. Now the results are in, has it been a success? WorldTempus decided to find out.
Watchmaking is a competitive sport where scoring points over the competition is the key to success. To achieve this, most watchmaking companies look to their products, but public relations and marketing also play an important role – some would say an overly important role – in helping them stand out from the crowd.
In a bid to improve its chances, Corum made a rather unexpected and refreshing move at Baselworld. It was called: ‘Customize your Bubble’. There were two main purposes to the exercise: to refresh the company’s customer base, and to ensure a successful reboot for the legendary bubble-shaped watch. ‘Customize your Bubble’ gave the general public the opportunity to design their own Bubble and submit it to Corum via Instagram. The three designs that garnered the most “likes” on the app would be declared the winners.
A risky exercise
Corum’s marketing director Frédéric Layani is the one who came up with the idea. To the uninitiated, it might look as if there was not a great deal to lose either way. After all, what was the worst that could happen? The Instagram community yawned, the Customize your Bubble experiment resulted in three underwhelming models, and everyone went back to business as usual.
In fact the stakes were much higher. Corum, looking to revive its customer base, was putting its image on the line. This initiative was its trump card. For a brand already walking a thin line between a return to its glory days and consignment to the horological scrap heap, it couldn’t afford yet another flop.
Why not? Because the Bubble isn’t just another watch: it’s Corum’s last and greatest weapon, a way of getting people to talk about the brand again, winning over new, younger and more dynamic clients, and breathing new life into the brand. It’s a powerful weapon, but there’s not much left in the arsenal. A misfire could spell the end of the line for Corum.
Thankfully, ‘Customize your Bubble’ worked perfectly. “Several hundred people got on board,” explains Frédéric Layani. “It’s an extremely respectable result given that we launched it during Baselworld, which is something of a bubble, and which tends to throw up any number of competing announcements. But Customize your Bubble surprised people. It’s a fun and fresh idea that quickly grabbed people’s attention at the fair, which many people found otherwise rather lacklustre.”
And the winner is...
At the end of the process three designs were selected, from France, Russia and Switzerland. As per the competition rules, their creators will each receive a Bubble with the design they submitted to Corum, as a unique piece. The three watches are due to be delivered this week. Contrary to the usual online ordering experience, the three winners were fully involved in the creation of their watches, remaining in constant communication with Corum until they had a prototype that was as close as possible to their creative vision.
Corum has also come out of the experience very well. Among the designs submitted there was one in particular that caught the company’s attention, if not that of Instagrammers. This very special model will be produced in a limited edition. “It’s too early to say anything at this stage, but among all the ideas that came out of the ‘Customize your Bubble’ experience, there was one concept that we picked up on, which will be reproduced in a limited edition with the full agreement of its designer, who has been compensated for his contribution as a genuine creative partner of Corum,” explains Frédéric Layani. “He wanted to make his own Bubble, and so did we, so everyone was happy!”
In short, ‘Customize your Bubble’ worked: it was a good idea. As well as giving Corum a new lease of life, it has sent a message to the industry that taking a punt on a good idea doesn’t necessarily need a monstrous marketing budget to succeed. Corum has already forewarned us not to expect any ‘Customize your Bubble Reloaded’ at Baselworld 2017. There will, however, be a different creative concept. And this time everyone will be paying attention, particularly those who are kicking themselves today for missing the boat in 2016!
Corum takes aesthetic daring to the heights of technical perfection. Through a number of collections, drawing on the fundamentals of traditional watchmaking, the manufacture continues to pursue its path free from the influence of passing trends.Find out more >
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