The 5th brand strategy sets eComm watch business for next phase of growth

THE:5TH is a digitally native, vertical watch business, selling online to a passionate community of predominantly millennial brand fans. Unlike traditional businesses in the category, THE:5TH has no stores, no retail staff and no celebrity endorsers. THE:5TH has build a remarkable business around a new model of commerce that includes; limited edition product released at midnight on the 5th of each month, quality as a hallmark and a strong design aesthetic that see's there product as much as fashion pieces as time pieces. As THE:5TH founder Alex McBride says; "People don't need a watch to tell the time anymore. Watches are now a statement of how we tell the world what we stand for".

The Challenge

As part of the new economy, THE:5TH’s short history features the speed and degree of growth a traditional watch company could only dream of. The challenge for these businesses is finding the answer to the question; ‘what next?’.

Continuing the sort of trajectory that THE:5TH saw in it’s first few years is a challenge for any business let alone a highly entrepreneurial one still finding its feet. Most often we see businesses facing this challenge lose focus and lose track of what it is that has made them so successful in the first place. In the case of THE:5TH, the business started exploring the concept of being a lifestyle brand, developing new product such as sunglasses and bags. Whilst the product was beautifully designed and manufactured to a high standard, the market became confused about what the brand stood for.

At the same time, new entrants had taken notice of THE:5TH’s success and were entering the market, disrupting the brand’s marketplace as they had done previously to their established competitors.

The:5TH founder Alex and his business partner and Swiss watch guru Graeme approached us to help them understand where the brand had lost momentum, and how it could play a role in re-firing the business for its next phase of growth.

The Strategy

Our first task was to develop a deep insight into what had made the brand sing in the first place, what had gone wrong, what was still resonating with the audience and whether enough equity remained to enable the brand to fire again.

We spend several sessions with the clients, delving into their journey and comparing each step of the businesses journey with customer data collected at the time. Once we had an internal understanding of the brand’s path, we needed to understand the same journey from a customer perspective. Fortunately the size of community and level of passion for the brand enabled us to run two surveys to heath check the brand and understand each of the critical layers of insight to set us up for strategic brand planning.

We then overlaid the insights with several possible business plan scenarios to identify which the brand provided greatest ‘permission’ to achieve. Once we had charted the next phase of business strategy we developed a brand definition framework for THE:5TH.

The brand strategy framework provided the business with the clarity and direction required to shape aligned business thinking on; Product development, messaging, marketing strategy and brand communications.

With the new brand strategy in hand, THE:5TH has turned-up the dial on the layers of brand experience that were identified as having the strongest equity with the market. Their first release on the 5th of the month post strategy and sold-out within 24 hours, with the business also taking a large number of pre-orders for the next release from customers who had missed out. Brand excitement has been rekindled with the brand feeling the level of buzz that reminded them of the early days.

The business has been re-energized with a shared sense of purpose and renewed confidence. As we continue on the journey with THE:5TH we’re looking forward to seeing the business realize its potential and vision to become one of the world’s most loved watch brands.

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