The following is a book excerpt from
“For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations “ by Ronn Torossian and can be purchased at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-immediate-release-ronn-torossian/1102047620
As a watch collector, I’m tuned into the world of watches. The languages of two different exclusive watch retailers, Tourneau and Wempe, are especially interesting. Both retailers sell more or less the same product, but one embraces a variety of customers— whether they intentionally go after them with PR or not—and the other doesn’t.
Walk into the stores and you’ll “hear” two different voices; both voices convey a public relations message that customers take with them and spread when they leave the shop. The salespeople at Tourneau will show you any watch in the place; they’ll let you try on as many as you want, chat with you, and answer every question you have. The company speaks to the
watch enthusiast. Whether you walk out wearing a watch or not, Tourneau always treats you well.
Since it is such a major retailer, it has a lot of pull with big brands and as a result is known for getting exclusive watches available only at its shops. Tourneau gets excited about that, too. One such watch, a limited edition (they reportedly made just 50) black-and-white, three-hand version of Franck Muller’s Conquistador Grand Prix timepiece, was available at the New York store to anyone who wanted to see it.
However, walk into Wempe, an international retailer with one store in New York City and others across Europe and the United Kingdom, and it’s a very different story. If you don’t pass Wempe’s snob test, you’ll get an attitude that’s far from friendly. One weekend day, I strolled into Wempe without a watch on and wearing a sweat suit. The place was empty, but still, I had to wait for a salesperson to come over to see what I wanted. I asked to see an expensive watch, and the clerk asked me, with a straight face, if I was a construction worker before he took the piece out of the case.
That “language” certainly sent me a message: dress to our specifications and show you belong if you want to receive good customer service. It also sent me away, thank you very much. Different language for different folks. Maybe Wempe doesn’t need my business and feels comfortable losing a sale because of the way I dress on rainy weekends.