How Daniel Wellington harnessed influencer marketing to grow into a multi-million dollar brand

In 2011, with just $15,000 in capital, a Swedish startup called Daniel Wellington was born.

After just 3 years, the company sold their millionth watch in 2014.

In 2015, they earned $220 million worth of revenue – a 214% increase in profits from the past year.

The secret behind their success? Influencer marketing.

The brand’s strategy was – and still is – to work closely with a wide range of influencers and celebrities. Top tier influencers get paid endorsements, whilst micro-influencers are simply gifted with a free watch. In return, these influencers feature the watches in Instagram posts. They utilize the #danielwellington hashtag, with their artfully-captured pictures not just selling a watch, but a highly-coveted lifestyle.

To date, the #danielwellington hashtag has generated a mind-boggling 1.2 million posts on Instagram by both influencers and ordinary social media users. In a bid to milk its Instagram engagement for all it’s worth, Daniel Wellington also provides its influencers with promo codes to pass on to their followers.

The result? With a strong call to action providing followers with a clear benefit (cost savings!), Daniel Wellington drove traffic to its site and generated enough sales to become the multi-million dollar brand that it is today. Because each promo code is unique to each influencer, the brand is able to track the amount of revenue that each influencer generates, and continue working with the most profitable influencers.

Another brand which successfully used social media to skyrocket its revenue? MVMT Watches, which has experienced an impressive 400% year on year growth since its launch in 2013.

According to the MVMT founders, Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, their friends and family didn’t quite understand their vision, telling them it was “impossible” to build a business purely through social media. But the duo persevered, and in its first year, MVMT topped $1 million in revenue. By 2015, they were making $30 million; in 2016, that figure jumped to just shy of $60 million, and this year, they’re projected to hit a whopping $90 million.

Similar to Daniel Wellington, MVMT utilizes a branded hashtag (#jointhemvmt) which is populated by content from both influencers and normal social media users. Again, by working with both top notch influencers and micro-influencers across various lifestyle and fashion segments, the brand manages to reach out to followers from all over the world, and convert them into paying users with the promo codes provided.

Today, it’s almost unheard of for lifestyle brands to not own social media channels and, more specifically, Instagram accounts. That having said, many of these brands aren’t harnessing the power of social media the way Daniel Wellington and MVMT are. By learning from these companies, and studying their strategies, lesser established lifestyle brands can fine-tune their own social media strategy to maximize both exposure and revenue.


Daniel Wellington