Bernie Robbins Jewelers: Anatomy of a Rebranding

In this Retail Details blog, Bernie Robbins Jewelers’ rebranding efforts, which began in June and intensified in the fourth quarter, come under the microscope. 

As the marketing director for Bernie Robbins, Rebecca Hasson discovered that, through marketing data, younger age groups (namely the 25 to 35 bridal customers), were a little intimidated by the stores’ high end reputation and luxurious interior features.

Last year at this time, Hasson and her marketing team made the store’s rebranding campaign to remedy this and other marketing matters their number-one priority for 2011. A small but important first step in that direction was taking the “Fine” out of Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelers. Hasson and her team wanted the name change to sink in during the first half of this year as they prepared marketing materials for the Somers Point store’s annual “Chic at the Shore” series of events.

BR ad 2

Promotional materials for this year’s annual summer trunk shows and private parties were definitely directed at younger customers with the 2011 catalog featuring a unique social media component, complete with mock Facebook postings, Twitter updates, and text messages between a budding young couple and their group of friends and family members.

While Chic at the Shore 2011 marketing plans and event planning was underway, Hasson and her team returned to the task of creating a cohesive branding message for Bernie Robbins’ five stores. “[We focused on] the old message of ‘celebrating life’s moments’ and [giving] our special promotions a fresh message with consistency,” says Hasson.

The main challenge with the rebranding, in addition to overhauling a time-honored high-end brand, was appealing to loyal Baby Boomer customers while attracting new Millennials. Early in the rebranding effort, Hasson sent out RFPs (request for proposals) to public relations and advertising firms, requesting marketing proposals for the new brand, which needed to serve as an umbrella to the store’s future campaigns.

Four firms made the short list and pitches were made. Bernie Robbins decided on Letter27’s “For every reason” campaign. “Our owners, Harvey [Rovinsky] and Maddy and I liked the concept very much,” says Hasson. “Every one of the mock ads featured a ‘because’ line that suggests to people seeing our ads that jewelry can be given for many reasons for any occasion. And each incorporated the now new tagline of ‘for every reason.’ We knew right away this concept was a perfect fit for our rebranding.”

With the elements of a rebranding campaign in place, Bernie Robbins worked with Letter27 to get print ads ready for fourth quarter 2011. 

Store owner Harvey Rovinsky

Store owner Harvey Rovinsky: “In our 50 years of existence, we’ve had many revolutionary changes and this was a very natural and successful evolutionary change.”

The first “for every reason … because” print ads appeared in the fall fashion issue of Philadelphia Style, a lifestyle magazine that is one of the store’s leading print media partners. A comprehensive market reaction was difficult to gauge by late November, but according to Hasson, “anecdotal reaction was good. The imagery and copy are relatable, no matter your age. The new pale gray background color of the ads is the right balance of traditional and modern.”

With print ads in the market for more than a month, radio commercials were the next promotional vehicle to get out Bernie Robbins’ new branding message. In November, the top-seven radio stations in Philadelphia and South Jersey began airing targeted ads directed at male and female listeners.

Starting in first quarter of 2012, the TV commercial will go into production, while outdoor and direct mail will hit in time for Valentine’s Day. And, by spring, in-store promotional materials will begin carrying Bernie Robbins’ newly rebranded message.

As Hasson and her staff assess the multi-prong approach to launching the rebrand, it’s clear that the comprehensive campaign will usher in a new message and a new image. Bernie Robbins will continue to be a jeweler carrying fine jewelry and timepieces from leading designers and renowned brands, but they also want to be accessible to all potential customers.

“The ‘for every reason … because’ ads created will appeal all groups,” says Hasson. “That’s what we love about the campaign…the creative executions are multi-generational and from Millennials to Boomers, you have either lived these moments or can relate to them.”

BR ad

Although the new branding message is for both age groups, it is slightly skewed toward younger bridal customers. The social media and online components of the rebranding initiative happening in the second quarter 2012 are more direct approaches to reaching those using Facebook and Twitter.

As new campaigns begin to take shape, sneak peaks will be made available on Facebook, with Twitter used to direct traffic to Bernie Robbins’ profile wall and YouTube. The store’s main website is currently undergoing a major overhaul. The new website, which will be launched in the first part of the second quarter in 2012, will reflect the new look with a host of new features and will ultimately include an e-commerce component.

The goal is to have all promotional platforms conveying the rebranding message done and comfortably in place by next spring. “At that time we can combine the rebranding message with our fiftieth anniversary celebrations, and our Chic at the Shore summer events,” says Hasson.