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CASE STUDY: How social currency made Daniel Wellington a $200 Million brand

Are you a brand looking to take your business to the next level? One key element that can set you apart from the competition is building social currency. This is how affordable luxury watch brand Daniel Wellington known for it's classy and minimalist watch designs broke into the highly competitive watch industry using social currency.

What the heck is Social Currency?

It's the value that a brand has in the eyes of its customers and followers. It's the reason why people talk about your brand, recommend it to their friends and family, and why they choose to engage with your brand on social media.

Founded in 2011 by Filip Tysander, this watch brand quickly gained popularity for its sleek and minimalist designs. In just 3 years, the brand managed to sell 1 million watches. By working with influencers, encouraging user-generated content, and having a consistent visual representation on social media, Daniel Wellington was able to build a strong sense of community and reputation that helped drive sales and establish it as a major player in the fashion industry (not just the watch market).

But when he started, founder Filip Tysander needed ways to create awareness around his watches without millions in marketing budgets to compete with big watch brands like Casio, Tissot, Fossil etc.

How Daniel Wellington used micro-influencers?

Instagram was launched in 2010. Daniel Wellington realised that apart from the celebrities with more than 100k followers, there were people with 5K followers focusing on their niche. 20 of such profiles put together were equal if not more than the effect a 100k profile might have.

He reached out to dancers, photographers, artists of any kind and promised free watches in exchange for a shoutout. He gave complete creative freedom to the influencers. If they’ve amassed the following they did, he trusted them to know their audience better. The results were amazing.

Budding influencers posted for their personal networks showcasing their own schticks, tagging the brand. Daniel Wellington too responded by commenting and reposting good pictures on their own social media accounts on Instagram, Pinterest etc. Great pictures were also adapted to their marketing campaigns and product pages. In the process, Daniel Wellington’s own account garnered a huge social media following.

After becoming established, Daniel Wellington runs the hashtag, #DWpickoftheday. This gives smaller social media accounts (influencer or not) visibility by offering them a chance to get featured on an established brand’s official profile. At the same time, it is a social proof of the brand’s reach. At the time of writing #DWpickoftheday had 58,466 posts. That’s 13 posts per day ever since the launch of Instagram (October 6, 2010)!

A budding photographer takes a creative photo highlighting the watch.

The social media post was linked to the exact product on the watch’s product page.


In 2023 bartering free products for shoutouts is nothing new nor is influencer marketing. That’s why the key here is using User-Generated Content (UGC). By encouraging customers to share photos of themselves using your product, you are helping to build a sense of community around your brand, which in turn, will increase the chances of people talking about your brand and ultimately drive sales.


Key takeaways to recreate the success of Daniel Wellington

  • Key takeaways to recreate the success of Daniel Wellington
  • Daniel Wellington didn't have millions for marketing, they chose paid twenty influencers with 5K following instead of an expensive influencers with 100K followers.
  • Find ways to encourage user generated content (Daniel Wellington aggressively engaged with people posting about their watches)
  • Daniel Wellington runs a #DWpickoftheday giving a chance to any user to get featured on the brand's social media profile
  • Use User Generated Content everywhere. Marketing campaigns, product pages, Pinterest, Instagram etc