Written by: Ken Fallon
Swiss watch manufacturer Raymond Weil took the unusual step Monday of shutting down its website and directing all web traffic to its Facebook page.
Anyone clicking on raymond-weil.com was immediately forwarded to a Facebook image wishing the social media company a happy birthday, including a picture of a small cake with a single candle. The Geneva-based company said it was making the move in honor of Facebook’s founding, which occurred on Feb. 4, 2004.
The company was also motivated by the fact that consumers are moving more of their economic traffic to social media, and chose Monday’s anniversary to acknowledge social media’s power to connect brands with consumers.
Throughout the day, the Raymond Weil Facebook page presented a timeline that showed events over the last nine years of both companies. As an example, the 2009 timeline image shows that Facebook generated positive cash flow the same year that Raymond Weil unveiled its own Facebook page. Raymond Weil, which manufactures luxury watches ranging in value from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000, joined Facebook in May 2009.
In addition to the timeline, the company’s Facebook page included a tab to help customers find the watch of their choice, and a recently-added store locator tab.
Raymond Weil repeated the timeline on its Twitter account. The company also makes use of a variety of social media sites, including YouTube, Google-Plus, Pinterest and Instragram. The company’s blog was not referring customers to the Facebook page, but had its own Happy Birthday Facebook message, including tags for “Facebook birthday,” “Web Marketing” and “Marketing Stunt.”
As of Tuesday, customers who logged in to the website saw the company’s usual home page.
“Raymond Weil embraced social media at an early stage because we believe in proximity and different ways to connect, “said Alain Duchene, the company’s head of digital marketing & communication, in a statement. “It is part of who we are as one of the last truly independent family-run watch brands in Switzerland.”
Duchene went on to say that social networking services such as Facebook “have changed the way we communicate,” offering the opportunity to interact with customers in a “straightforward, fun and closer manner.”
Raymond Weil executives plan to examine a variety of data to determine the effectiveness of Monday’s move, including reviewing customer comments. However, the founder of a Geneva-based digital marketing company said Monday’s efforts go beyond a marketing campaign.
“The metrics of this campaign are indeed of interest and always a key aspect in digital marketing,” said David Scholberg, CEO of KBSD Digital Intelligence, “but the spirit of this particular campaign is a social drive from our teams leading to an engaging and original move.”
The company’s namesake, Raymond Weil, founded the company in 1976; he turns 86 years old this year, and serves as honorary chairman. His son-in-law,Olivier Bernheim, started working for the company six years later, and assumed the role of president and CEO in 1996. Berhheim’s sons, Elie and Pierre, joined the company in 2006.