Smartwatch: Innovation or Idiocy?

2015-01-12 by Ronn Torossian


The CEO of NY PR Firm 5WPR, Ronn Torossian, discusses whether or not – the Smartwatch craze – is warranted or a fad.

Apparently everyone in the mobile sector thinks you are clamoring to wear your phone on your wrist. This obvious assumption has market analysts asking another very important question. Is there really even an actual smartwatch market?

A few tech industry insiders are convinced. They say the smartwatch is the obvious progression in the mobile sector. Some market analysts remain unconvinced. They say the rash of smart watches hitting the market are nothing more than monkey see monkey do. The mobile industry is now so tightly competitive that companies cannot afford to fall behind in any aspect of consumer market. To do so could risk valuable market share. So even brands that don’t want to take risks on “innovations” such as the smart watch jump into the fray with the mindset that they can’t win if they don’t play.

This “throw it against the wall” approach has led to some interesting – some would say, frustrating – market realities. For one thing, no one is quite certain what a smartwatch is, nor what they should expect it to do. Currently, buzzwords such as “syncing” and “interface” are getting tossed around, but no clear dynamic has been set.

Is the smartwatch a replacement for your smartphone or an addition to it? Should there be some crossover functionality, or is the watch best marketed as an addition? Is it a more convenient accessory or an entirely new tool?

Currently, no one is able – or, at least, willing – to say for sure. And that leads to the worst possible problem for any marketing effort, no matter what the product is. If people don’t know what it is or why they should want it, there’s really no way to sell it in the long-term. Sure, there will be novelty buyers. But tech brands can depend on these buyers no matter what new gadget they push out. It’s the more mainstream marketplace that needs more convincing.

And it’s that mainstream marketplace that, for better or worse, the current mobile industry has embraced. Consider, when smartphones first hit the market they had obvious business applications, so that was the direction of the marketing. Apple changed all that with the iPhone, and Samsung rode those coattails in impressive fashion. Now the average consumer is the target market. They know why they need – or want – a smartphone.

But why do they need – or want – a smart watch?

And that brings all of us back to the original concern. If even the brands don’t know what the market is…or even if there is a market…no one else will give the smartwatch the time of day.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities