Part training. Part selling. Part motivation. Part excitement. Part recognition. Part product differentiation. Part sales and merchandising support.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a portion of the Hearts On Fire University events at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. This event has been held for years, and every year it is very well attended. This year there were over 1,300 attendees despite the current gray mood hovering over the economy. The attendees or their firms pick up a portion of the cost and Hearts On Fire picks up the rest.
The event takes place on several levels. A portion is devoted to the owners. Another is directed toward the store managers and sales staff at the store level. The event is part revival meeting, with bells ringing and people screaming “Hearts On Fire” at key moments of presentations. Everyone, without exception, gets into it. The fact is, it’s fun.
More than fun, though, there is serious training going on at these annual sessions. The serious part is repeating the mission of the brand and selling “the world’s most perfectly cut diamond.” This positioning resonates not only with sales associates but also with consumers. “The world’s most perfectly cut diamond” is a powerful statement.
It is a basic tenet of presentation that conviction shows physically and vocally. And throughout the sessions, you come away with the conviction that there is something different going on here. The attendees really do drink the Kool-Aid. Repetition is a basic element in education, and the emphasis on product is continual.
More than just product, there is merchandising, too. It’s about display and in-case presentation and brand identification. Teaching attendees the fine points of presentation to the consumer is also on the agenda.
Some time ago, I wrote in this column that branding in the diamond business would be a difficult goal to achieve and that only a few diamond manufacturers would succeed in their quest. Brand status is achieved through a wide variety of marketing elements—the marketing mix. In the case of Hearts On Fire, they have placed a great deal of attention on a singular focus with their product, and that focus has been extended to every element of what they do to bring attention to their brand. Most of all, they employ powerful, positive persuasion in all they do.
While everyone else is cutting back on expenses, Hearts On Fire is investing in its business, its brand, and its customers, with the ultimate goal of building its brand share and strongly encouraging its customers to do the same. Market share is built in times like this.
In the film Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner hears a voice say, “If you build it, they will come.” He did and they did. Susan and Glenn Rothman must have heard the same voice saying the same thing as they developed Hearts On Fire. Many of the same naysayers, I am sure, counseled them not to do it, but they did and it worked very well.