Today we’re talking all things CITIZEN and on our hot seat is Jae Lee, Marketing Head of Citizen Watches Australia; the man responsible for steering the brands’ AU and NZ campaigns. Where is the brand headed? What’s in store for 2020? This interview has it all.
How has Q1 and Q2 been for Citizen, Bulova and Frederique Constant in the new normal? And how do you foresee the rest of the year for the three brands?
Before we talk 2020 Q1 and Q2, we must discuss 2019 for Citizen. 2019 was an exceptional year for Citizen. We expanded our sales and profit against 2018 and have stressed on Promaster inside the market that Citizen can make and produce Sky, Marine and Land class watches. The momentum we had with Citizen, Bulova and Frederique Constant brands was positive. Following 2019, 2020 Q1 was extraordinary, which we have accomplished YTD sales budget plan and profit. Contrast to Q1, Citizen has lost significant businesses in Q2 where Citizen traditional bricks and mortar business weren’t trading for 2-3 months. In any case, I’m sure that Citizen will continue to punch above its weight and our multi-brand strategy with Bulova and Frederique constant will make up and improve our market share of the overall industry inside Australia and New Zealand in Q3 and Q4.
Could you tell us a little about your 2020 Novelties and the focus for the brand this year?
CWA will persistently concentrate on Citizen in 2020. This years Citizen range is expanding on the establishments of 2019. With 7 new Promaster items available in this range, we likewise observe a chance to step up our value focuses again with the presentation of the new Satellite Wave GPS. The blue model (also available in green), specifically, can be a champion watch in the range with its striking and recognisable look and mainly Australian connection with the Barrier Reef time region. At just over $2000 Australian Dollars RRP, and premium Promaster Sky Global Radio Controlled between $1700 to $2100. We likewise observe some new Divers models, including the well-known green colourings that are in-line with the market at this moment. For Bulova, we are eager to present new Accutron models, a new development which is an uncommon occasion in watches and its future in Australia is secure. In 2020, Frederique Constant offers an exceptionally unique chance with Citizen and Bulova, and not merely in the perceptible Swiss/Japanese contrast. Frederique Constant, similar to Citizen, fabricate their in-house developments – however, they configure, produce and assemble by hand. This difference, and the detail behind it is what Swiss watches represent. Much like Citizen speaks to moderate quality, Frederique Constant speaks to reasonable extravagance and taking a gander at Frederique Constant’s new Manufacture models talk to a fantastic incentive with regards to the Swiss market.
How do you manage to stay on top of the podium with new and exciting releases?
By having a multi-brand strategy within our brand portfolio, we identify each brand; Citizen is the light with our Eco-Drive Technology, Bulova is sound with the Tuning Fork, and Frederique Constant as Swiss accessible luxury. Furthermore, not losing each brands’ heritage is a crucial fact to stay in the industry with exciting new releases every year. Citizen innovation and quality, which we will proceed to endeavour and contribute our R&D. Additionally receiving industry and design trends to increase our market share is our core interest. Citizen will be sensitive in trends, with product finish quality and innovation. We will be relentless in our R&D investments with new technologies which we always have. Citizen brand will consistently create and launch incredible watches for all watch enthusiasts and collectors.
How important is e-commerce?
In the wake of analysing sales trends, Citizen independent bricks and mortar sales were shrinking. A year ago was a game-changing time for Citizen. We had to look for new opportunities. Citizen has contributed and changed the web and rebranded as a business-friendly internet brand. We have made numerous digital campaigns, put resources into SEO, email advertising and SNS consumer promotion campaigns to capture new audiences. ROI wise, it was a significant investment which we have recovered during the COVID-19 lockdown. Right now, we are unaware of when this pandemic will end and need to manage the vulnerability of market trends. Citizen will be an innovator in the internet businesses with exciting new visuals, digital content, and another perspective to convey our customers to expand our piece of the pie inside the online market.
What is key to growing Citizen’s market share in Australia even further?
The multi-brand strategy is a critical factor for Citizen’s market share growth. Citizen as an all-rounder watch, Bulova for those who want something different from Citizen with a unique design and FC for a luxury Swiss watch at an accessible price. Our founder said Citizen would keep our legacy that the watch will be available to all Citizens; who needs to appreciate a quality watch in any value division. Our heritage is the crucial driving factor that all Citizen brands have, and that tenacity will ceaselessly develop our business and assemble trust among our market and customers. All this effort will turn into sales and increase our market share.
How do you see the retail landscape changing, and how is that affecting the watch industry here in Australia?
The e-commerce business will be essential to all our major brands and retail market. Due to COVID-19, the mobility between consumers and retail will be limited. Luxury brand sales will be made mostly with an appointment only, mid-range will be driven by product spec, and low-end section will be price driven. The Citizen brands can contend in any price segmentation, and we can and proudly can say that we can capture an audience who wants a watch for personal pleasure collection, and status. Citizen will cultivate a customer-first mindset to satisfy both off-line and online businesses in the Australia and NZ market.
How is the integration of Citizen, FC and Bulova been going for you in Australia, and how is becoming a much larger and diverse group affecting operation?
It’s challenging… Having a multi-brand strategy is having diversity which requires a lot of work in detail to capture different target audience for your brands. Each brand needs a different story, content, digital assets, and communication. I particularly love the challenge, which I can input diverse creativity and marketing strategies for various brands execution. CWA will continuously launch great products and build an excellent experience for our customers. Which means, having a more extensive and diverse group does not affect our operation. Why? CWA focuses on Customers first; we always have, and the foundation were Citizens – meaning our customer. We have sizeable international product ranges, for CWA the product range is narrow but deeper. With less product SKU in the market, it is easier to control and adopt market trends and requirements to improve our customer experience with our brands. With great foundation, we can improvise to meet new standards, and the attitudes and mindsets will affect positively in our businesses operation and sales performance.
Your personal favourite from the 2020 Collection and why?
I’m wearing Super titanium Promaster marine collection model number NY0071-81E. It’s super titanium, meaning 5 times more durable and 40% lighter than stainless steel, automatic, 20 bar water-resistant and it is green. The green dial was big last year, and it seems the trends and demand haven’t died yet. It is a great watch to wear, and I love it.