Worried that demand is stagnating and a new generation is turning its back on diamonds, the industry is promoting a wide variety of initiatives to appeal to consumers.
In addition to the generic ad campaign De Beers announced for holiday 2015, the trade is pursuing the following campaigns:
• Signet and Forevermark joined forces over the holiday to promote the two-stone ring, with an ongoing campaign that calls to mind De Beers’ past “beacons.”
• The Diamond Producers Association, the newly formed group of diamond miners, has enlisted New York City agency Mother for a marketing campaign and has hired De Beers and World Gold Council veteran Sally Morrison as its marketing director.
• The World Diamond Council is looking for a public relations firm to handle “reputation management issues,” a PR newsletter reports.
• India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council wants to hire local ad agencies to promote diamonds to consumers in China, Latin America, and the Middle East, according to local press accounts.
The promotional efforts come amid a dramatic slowdown in the diamond market, sparked by slowing sales in Asia and lackluster growth in the United States. By one estimate, De Beers’ sales total for the second half of 2015 is shaping up to be the company’s lowest in 30 years.
Given the financial challenges, as well as the seeming inroads made by lab-grown diamonds, many in the diamond market have called for a return to category marketing, which De Beers abandoned in 2009. The recent slowdown has clearly focused the trade on the need to get its message out.
“Because of the past role of De Beers, the industry has not matured,” says Jean-Marc Lieberherr, head of Rio Tinto Diamonds, who chairs the Diamond Producers Association. “The ability to speak with one voice is important and something we didn’t have before.”
The Signet-Forevermark linkup has garnered the most attention, as it’s one of the most ambitious industry initiatives in years. The new brand, created by the partnership Ever Us, will be carried in Signet’s three main U.S. chains—Kay, Zales, and Jared—as well as its Canadian and United Kingdom divisions. It will be advertised with the tagline: “One diamond for your best friend. One diamond for your true love.”
“We have done some crossover selling before, but never like this, with the power of one Signet advertising program and the entire Signet entity,” says Stuart Lee, Signet’s executive vice president of merchandising. “Now that we have Kay, we have Jared, have Zales, we are pulling all those resources together.” The chains will air the same advertising for Ever Us. “We wanted the power of one message,” Lee says.
Signet developed and owns the rights to the brand, but it is allowing Forevermark to use both the brand name and its tagline. Forevermark partner retailers will also get to sell Ever Us two-stone jewelry featuring the company’s branded diamonds.
“We said to ourselves, ‘We can do this on our own or reach out to a great team that we have partnered with in the past,’?” Lee says. “If you are going to create an iconic global strategy, who better than Forevermark and the [De Beers] team?”
Forevermark has developed its own advertising for the Ever Us concept, which will run in print, digital, and social media, says the brand’s U.S. president, Charles Stanley.
The idea originated with Signet, which was searching for the “next must-have” and a “global iconic brand,” Lee says. For that reason, Signet is okay with promoting a product that will also be sold at competing stores. “We want to create this high tide that lifts all boats,” he adds. “We need to help not only Signet, not only Forevermark. We need to be assisting our industry to create this must-have so we can do battle for share of wallet.”
Inset: Signet’s Ever Us two-stone diamond bypass band in 14k white gold; $999–$4,999