Swarovski’s experience in the realm of celebrity collaborations is well known, and growing. Nadja Swarovski pioneered efforts in 2007 by launching Atelier Swarovski—collections of limited-edition crystal jewelry and accessories designed by runway pals like Karl Lagerfeld—followed by a string of A-list affiliations including getting Swarovski involved in Fashion Rocks campaigns, dressing stars at red carpet events, boosting its trade presence through the JCK Rock Star competition, enlisting French actress Bérénice Marlohe to serve as the face of its Fall-Winter 2012/2013 campaign, and, most recently, debuting exclusive jewelry collections in collaboration with Yoko Ono and Stephen Webster to mark the release of the new James Bond film, same-name jewelry collection, and a line celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise. All efforts aim to drive awareness, traffic, and—hopefully—sales to Swarovski stores.
Jewelers looking to benefit from a little star power of their own—but lacking Swarovski-size budgets—can accomplish similar goals by teaming up with local talent (think news anchors, philanthropists, socialites, radio hosts, sports figures, etc.) for collaborations, endorsement deals, or more. The key to success in this arena is to think outside of the proverbial jewelry box.
“Collaborating with celebrities creates buzz and buzz drives brand awareness,” says Carrie Soucy, president, Miamore Communications in Providence, R.I. “This is as true on the local level as it is on the international; it’s a matter of thinking creatively about marketing.”
Dress Local Talent and Sponsor Events Some television stations will allow you to dress their anchors for credit at the end of the show. The benefit here is that many host high-end community events as well, and you could dress the on-air personalities for those, too.“With the caveat that you can either use that in your own publicity and/or they provide a mention at the event,” says Ellen Fruchtman, president of Fruchtman Marketing in Toledo, Ohio. “By sponsoring events with potential for news coverage, local jewelers are doing good for the community and themselves,” adds Jim Feldman, CEO of Jim Feldman Creative in New York City.
Employ a Brand Spokesperson This is a big—and sometimes costly—move for a company. Firms like Swarovski can afford to hire talent with six-figure salaries, but smaller operators can structure deals unique to their needs and wallet size. Part of compensation could be gifting your goods, or pledging donations to causes close to a celeb’s heart. “High-profile brands do these collaborations for a reason—they work,” says Soucy.
Create a Collection with a Charitable Sales Hook Co-design a piece with a local celebrity, and donate a portion of sales to the charity of their choice. “National celebrities all come from somewhere—retailers should do their research on who calls their area home, and contact them with opportunities for charitable events that will positively influence their public image,” notes Feldman.
Sponsor a Local Design Competition Sponsoring jewelry design competitions is a great way to give kids real-life experience and draw positive media attention to your brand. The larger the school, the broader the reach. “Inviting recognized jewelry designers with national brands to judge and mentor provides the jeweler with impact far beyond what is in their showcases,” says Feldman.
Enlist Local Stars to Co-Curate Collections with Retailers Says Soucy: “A project I’m currently working on involves local television personalities who are ‘curating’ special collections for various retailers for a co-branding initiative. For example, an interior design/home celebrity is working with a high-end furniture store to create his picks for every room in the house—all pulled from the retailer’s existing merchandise.” Soucy’s vision of the jewelry version involves hiring the local fashion expert, inviting them to go through the store, highlighting a few looks for the season, and then hosting a launch party to promote them and attract fashion-forward female self-purchasers.