Daniel Wellington perfect Instagram marketing strategy

Influencers are the key actors of social networks communication. They have a wide audience and they can help any brand to get in touch with varied different publics. Some brands have built all their notoriety by bypassing traditional marketing techniques and by working with influencers alone.

The best example to date is Daniel Wellington, a Swedish company selling basic quartz watches with a somewhat classic minimalist design.

Daniel Wellington is one of the first brands that fully understood the potential of influencer marketing, a new marketing technique that emerged with the social networks.

The brand was quick spot the first Instagram influencers and sent to them, as a present, a model of its products: the only requirement was to post one photo of the watch on their feed.

The influencers played the game, and because they were all highly creative communicators, Instagram was progressively flooded by smart, artistic and sometimes funny photos of the watch.

Kimmysharm promoting a DW watch. Notice that each time DW sends a watch to an influencer, he is asked to communicate a discount code to his followers, another smart marketing strategy to create brand awareness on Instagram.

This created a huge buzz around the brand, which became iconic among teenagers and young adults, exposed massively to DW watches photos on Instagram. You have probably already spotted a DW watch on the arm of generation Y or Z boys or girls (smartly, it is an unisex watch).

Daniel Wellington’s owner, the Swede Filip Tysander, invested just $1500 for kick starting the company 2009; in 2015 he has sold one million watches worldwide for a profit of $220M. The brand relies exclusively on influencer marketing, and has not changed this strategy even after Instagram opened the possibility to invest in paid advertisement. Here an interesting article on Bloomberg that gives us some additional details.

Daniel Wellington inundated Instagram so massively, that some believe that most of the huge quantity of DW watches on sale on EBay come from influencer’s resells, cashing the money of their “present” just after posting a quick snap on the social network.

Whatever the reason of this huge resell action is, the distribution of the watches to Influencers has proved remarkably effective, and cost to the brand just a fraction of the price of a classical advertisement campaign.

There are almost a million posts on Instagram tagged #danielwellington. There are s 3,5K posts on the Daniel Wellington page, which means that the rest was posted by the brand’s followers. The main motivation for them to use the hashtag is to win one of the several photo contests organized by DW. The fact to be eventually reposted on a 2,4 millions followers page is motivating enough: the visibility of their Instagram page will noticeably increase.

Daniel Wellington is the best example on how to create a virtuous social dynamic on Instagram: competitors in the same watch segment like Cluse, Kapten & Son, Leny Harper are literally copy/cutting his strategy. But the strategy is so effective that also other sectors employ now similar techniques.



Sustainable designer and social media strategist, based in Europe mostly Paris, Milan, Copenhagen.

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Ignazio Mottola

Sustainable designer and social media strategist, based in Europe mostly Paris, Milan, Copenhagen.