“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.”
Diamonds have always been the stuff of legends, and the basis for incredible stories—both true and fictional. Their power to captivate and to fire the imagination is unrivaled. Even their origin is miraculous: From ancient volcanic eruptions and under intense heat and pressure come gems that reflect light and which for centuries have represented strength, purity, and love.
Telling stories about diamonds is essentially what we in the business of marketing diamonds do. From traditional print, radio, and television advertising to a local jeweler counseling an engagement ring purchaser, creating dialogues about where diamonds, dreams, and people intersect is at the core of our collective mission.
Today, of course, consumer attention itself has become a precious commodity, and the competition for that attention has never been so intense. Stories still matter, but they must break through or they won’t be heard. This is particularly important among the 35-and-under set, information omnivores who are barraged by marketing messages 24/7. They are banner-blind and ad-averse, busy and distracted—and check their smartphones on average 150 times per day.
The challenge of changing millennial perceptions about diamonds requires a radically new approach to communication that’s capable of cutting through the clutter. Humans have always interpreted the world through stories, and as marketers we can leverage this power by creating new narratives that show—not tell—why diamonds should have a role in their lives.
“Real Is Rare”—the new marketing platform for diamonds developed by the Diamond Producers Association—was the first step in this type of communication, aiming to engage millennials on an emotional level. In the campaign’s initial 4Q16 wave, “Together,” the creative portrays diamonds as symbols of authentic connection and commitment, which broadens the territory for diamond moments and diamond purchase. The first two films, which will be augmented by additional stories in 2017, are purposefully open-ended in order to shift the focus from the still very relevant but expected traditions to a new territory that suggests authentic connection itself is worthy of a diamond.
The films present a fresh take on modern love—expanding the notion of diamond-worthy moments and relationships.
As the retail industry shifted into high gear for Holiday, DPA released a second wave of relationship stories—this time with a focus on real-life Gen Y relationships in all their diversity. In November, we debuted a docu-short, Why Real Is Rare, featuring actor-producer Nick Cannon. The film explores this-is-it moments from six couples—each story as genuine and unique as a diamond itself. Having generated almost 300 million earned media impressions already, the video is adding heat and dimension to the campaign.
We also released a short film and social campaign around the true, unknown backstory and powerful diamond moment in the marriage of popular musicians/social media superstars Us the Duo. With millennial lifestyle site Refinery29, we produced three videos that showcase “Real Is Rare” relationships formed against the backdrops of New York, Chicago, and Austin, Texas, that speak to the role each city had in shaping these relationships. Each of these executions reveals another facet of what love, dating, engagement, marriage, and parenthood look like among Gen Y couples. These stories are modern fairy tales, but ones that reflect the realities of modern life, with an authenticity that creates expanded relevance for diamonds.
“Real” relationship storytelling is powerful and has inspired our audience to reflect on their own relationships. We’ve heard and responded to many other stories via our social media community, weighing in with thoughts on connections, commitment, and the relationship challenges faced by millennials today.
We encourage retailers to tap into consumers’ interest in stories—theirs and those of others like them—by:
• Discovering stories of commitment behind each diamond purchase and by presenting diamonds as perfect symbols to celebrate.
• Explaining what makes diamonds real and rare. For further information, go to diamondproducers.com and register on the trade portal.
• Explaining how every diamond, like the story of every relationship, is not only precious but also truly unique.
Deborah Marquardt is the CMO of the Diamond Producers Association, an international alliance of the world’s leading diamond mining companies who are united in their commitment to best-in-class ethical and sustainable operations and transparent business practices. Together, DPA members represent the majority of world diamond production. The DPA mission is to protect and promote the integrity and reputation of diamonds, and of the diamond industry. Follow the DPA on Twitter at @DPAssociation.