Take Reputation Seriously or Lose Customers

Several jewelry industry officials told the trade to put reputation at the heart of your business or risk compromising future success, during a seminar Wednesday at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Watch Fair.

“We are witnessing the rise of the conscious consumer. The industry is addressing this shift with guiding principles for retailers around the world,” said Gaetano Cavalieri, president of CIBJO (the World Jewellery Confederation). “Retailers need to respond—sit up, listen and take action.”

Cavalieri was one of the speakers at the “Importance of Reputation” seminar sponsored by CIBJO, the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices, the De Beers Group, and Jewellery News Asia.

He was among those who urged jewelers to ensure they are paying more than just lip service to their social, technical, and ethical responsibilities to win consumer trust.

“A key component of retail margin is based entirely on the level of trust – in diamond jewellery sales, lower trust equals lower margins,” said Bob Gannicott, chairman and chief executive officer of Aber Diamond Corp.

This sentiment was echoed by Beryl Raff, executive vice-president of Fine Jewelry at JC Penney.

“Our ‘brand’ and ‘our customer’ are our two most important assets, without which we do not have a business,” Raff said. “We must protect them at all costs. The world is changing at a rapid pace and if we do not listen we will not thrive.”

CRJP CEO, Michael Rae, urged attendees to join its organization.

“The expression, ‘the weakest link’, has great resonance in the jewellery industry. Following the launch of our Code of Practices in 2006, our Responsible Practices system will be launched in the first quarter of 2008,” he said. “This aims to define, promote and monitor responsible practices of our members throughout the gold and diamond jewellery supply chain.” 

Cavalieri urged retailers to download and live by the principles of the CIBJO Blue Book and a quick reference guide for jewelry retailers, at the CIBJO Web site

Other speakers included: Jonathan Kendall, director, De Beers Group Marketing, and Kent Wong, director, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Co.