MarketingYour Store Brand

Paula K. Peterson, president of Crown Luxury Consulting, Orlando, Fla., is one of the industry’s most savvy marketing experts. She has launched wholesale businesses for Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, and Tiffany; created new market opportunities and strategies for companies such as Harrods of London and Cartier Inc.; and now advises leading jewelry and watch brands on marketing, merchandising, and distribution in North America.JCK’s William George Shuster queried her on the relationship between store branding and good marketing.

How does a jewelry store’s brand and brand strategy affect its marketing?

All retail store environments have their own style and sensibility. The owner, geographic location, customer base, and merchandise all contribute to creating the DNA of the store brand. So it’s essential to take time to do a 360-degree study of the store’s identity from the perspectives of the owner, consumers, suppliers, and community to develop an effective marketing strategy.

Creating a unique brand strategy allows retailers to lead with a competitive marketing edge. No two people have the same personality, and no two stores have the same brand DNA. Therefore, no two companies should have identical marketing strategies.

Do most jewelers base their marketing plans on their store brand identity?

Jewelers tend to be more experienced merchants than marketers, but I think the amount of time devoted to marketing depends on the individual store and its owner’s priority. In general, larger retailers put more emphasis on marketing, because they’re reaching out to a broader consumer base. Smaller jewelers seem to put greater priority on customer service over marketing per se, because they tend to have more personal relationships with customers. However, there are always exceptions to the rule.

What steps can a jewelry store take to ensure that its marketing program supports and furthers its brand in its local market?

The best marketing programs should reach a store’s loyal customers. Supporting charities and sponsoring events that involve these customers will also help reach their circles of friends and family. As this circle expands, so do future opportunities for increased sales with new and potential customers.

Review the coming year’s advertising budget and new media options in September and October. Take time to speak with ad representatives and understand as much about their publications and demographics as you can. Then, select those media vehicles that address your core consumers. Confirm your budget and plan by October/November. Artwork and initial media buying for the next year should be completed and ready to implement by December.

Be consistent in your marketing strategy. For example, it’s more effective to select one publication and have a consistent advertising campaign that runs at least three to five times during the year rather than advertise in three to five publications once a year.

When developing a marketing strategy, make sure you have a way to measure its results. If you can’t measure effectiveness through increased sales and profitability to the bottom line, then what is the point in creating a marketing program?

How should a jeweler set up his or her store brand’s marketing budget? What’s the strategy?

First, draw three concentric circles, inside each other like those on a target, on a page of paper. The bull’s-eye in the center is your core consumer. The band immediately next to the bull’s-eye should be your first outreach. It represents people whom your core clientele know. Through word of mouth and the good will of your existing customers, they know or hear of your store. These potential customers should be reached not only through your core clientele but also through advertising and marketing efforts. The outer band on your marketing target should be younger customers. Every store needs to develop the next generation of consumers.

A good rule of thumb is to spend 50 percent of your store brand’s marketing budget marketing to core, repeat clientele; remember, the most important customer is one kept for life. Spend 25 percent reaching out to their friends and family. And spend 25 percent reaching out to a new generation of consumers. Don’t try to extend your reach beyond that last circle. Time, energy, and resources are wasted trying to reach a new market without a bridge or connector.