Shinola, the Detroit-based company from Fossil founder Tom Kartsotis, has wasted no time in establishing a highly visible digital profile. Ranked 10th and Gifted in L2’s 2014 Watches & Jewelry Index, Shinola rises to Genius status in L2’s new Digital IQ Index: Mass & Licensed Watches. This level of digital competency – surpassed only by Michael Kors and Fossil – is impressive for a company that started producing watches just two years ago. Shinola has been especially skilled at making the most of fan enthusiasm, leveraging its Detroit roots and harnessing user-generated content for brand building.


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UGC is front and center on Shinola’s social media pages and brand site. Most of Shinola’s Instagram and Twitter content is sourced from users via the #MyShinola campaign, and #MyShinola Instagram posts garner more than 1.7x the engagement of all other brand posts. On Facebook and Twitter, user-generated content drives e-commerce through links to relevant product pages. Another source of user-generated content is the new #lovemycity campaign, which encourages users to submit images sharing sentiments of their hometown – in line with Shinola’s positioning as a proudly Detroit-based brand.


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UGC often remains isolated on social media, but Shinola is one of four Indexed brands that post the content on their site. Under the #MyShinola tab on product pages, the brand curates user-generated wrist views for the specific watch—a clever integration that allows Shinola to scale their own product collateral investments with surprisingly high-quality shots from users.


Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.35.47 PMShinola scores high in mobile with a best-in-class strategy that pairs responsive design and strong tablet optimization with strong mobile SEO and SEM. Also notable: a customized Shinola landing page on that incorporates branded video into product tiles to augment merchandising efforts. The brand also now operates e-commerce sites for 11 countries in North America and parts of Europe.

For more on how Shinola is using digital for growth, L2 members can watch Shinola’s Steve Bock speaking on “The Power and Place of Brands” at our Forum 2014 event here.

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