Editors

7 Questions on Diamond Marketing, Demand

EditorsJun 17, 2016

7 Questions on Diamond Marketing, Demand

Stephen Lussier of De Beers and the Diamond Producers Association on the thought process behind “Real is Rare,” why income inequality worries him and more.

20160617_DPA-moodboard.jpg
A mood board containing insights gleaned from research the Diamond Producers Association and Mother New York collected while developing the new “Real is Rare” marketing campaign

Earlier this month at an event in Las Vegas, the Diamond Producers Association revealed the slogan that will be at the core of a new millennial- and U.S.-focused generic diamond advertising campaign: “Real is rare. Real is a diamond.”

The DPA developed the new slogan over the past several months, working alongside advertising agency Mother New York to survey a “representative sample” of Generation Y consumers in three U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. (The DPA is not releasing the exact number of millennials included in the research.)

After the shows, National Jeweler caught up with De Beers executive and DPA Chairman Stephen Lussier to talk more extensively about how the DPA arrived at “Real is Rare,” the U.S. presidential election, income inequality and how “A Diamond is Forever” fits in now.

National Jeweler: What about “Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond” do you think will connect with millennials?
Stephen Lussier: I think the two biggest insights from our research is one, this concept of what are relationships in this new era of a huge number of contacts?

This is a generation who, every day, have more interactions with more people than the generation before them would have even dreamed about. While they have a huge volume of contacts, they still sort of recognize that, ‘well, that’s not really enough.’ That, unlike [past] generations, they haven’t had the same depth of relationships. It’s a human need and they’re longing for it.

Part of the real core insight is, how do you recognize that feeling that they have and make sure your product is positioned for it? If you can attach your product to their basic need, it’s a very powerful place to be.

I think the other powerful insight that came from our study is that there is this desire for the authentic. It’s a word that they often used in the research. They used that language across lots of different categories [and] in the context of relationships. There’s a sort of this innate understanding amongst them that the diamond is the real deal. It’s one of those few products in life that stands the test of time and will be around forever.

The key is connecting those two things. If we can connect this innate feeling that they long for that relationship that is real and connect that with their desire to find some things in their world that are

authentic and are the real deal, then we’ve got a proposition that’s very powerful.

NJ: When the DPA was conducting its research, were there a lot of questions from millennials about “blood” diamonds or general ethical questions about the product?
SL: Not as much as perhaps one would have expected. Interestingly, the main issue they have with diamonds is more perceptual … that they are a product that the previous generations used in a ritualistic way.

NJ: And millennials are not into rituals?
SL: They create their own rituals but they’re not into rituals that are seen to be things that are just there because society requires them. They find a different way of doing it.

Take marriage. It’s not that they are anti-marriage in any way. While they’re delaying it, they delay it because they want to have a very clear sense of themselves before they get married. They’ve got too much experience at watching marriages that haven’t succeeded, and they don’t want to follow that same path. So they’re more cautious and careful but still very keen on it.

When they understand and think about the role the diamond can play in terms of symbolizing that real emotion, it’s very powerful. If they think of the diamond simply as something you have get because that’s what you get when you get married, it’s not so powerful.

NJ: When you Google “diamonds,” many articles come up that wage the “diamonds aren’t rare” argument. Was there any hesitation about the word “rare” being used in the DPA’s campaign, any concerns it would set off a whole new wave of “no, diamonds aren’t rare” arguments?
SL: No, it wasn’t an issue in any of our consumer research. People inherently understand that diamonds are a precious natural product and because they are natural, they are limited.

Interestingly, the rare concept emanated less from focusing on the diamond than focusing on the concept of relationships, consumers recognizing that in their life, in a sea of endless superficial contacts, that real relationship, that was rare and that was special, and that was something that was precious and needed to be celebrated.

I am very happy to take that on (the rare argument) if it did come up. I don’t think it’s where the consumer is at all. I think that they intuitively appreciate that--that diamonds are rare. They recognize that there are rare ones and there are less rare ones, particularly when it comes to size and quality. But I don’t think it’s an issue with the consumers today.


Stephen Lussier, far left, with Diamond Producers Association CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr and former World Gold Council Executive Director David Lamb, who has been consulting with the DPA.

NJ: Does the current state of the politics in the United States give you anxiety about how the year’s going to play out here in terms of diamond sales?
SL: What we look at carefully in America is the macro-economic environment. While it’s … not the steadiest of recoveries, the fundamentals for the diamond-buying consumer groups are pretty good. There’s every reason why America should be able to continue to perform reasonably well.

In the end, if the election campaign has a negative effect on the macro-economy, that’s not going to help. On the other hand, we have seen historically that election years aren’t bad for diamond purchasing.

The key is to watch the GDP growth and consumer spending, and so far it’s held up well through the first half of the year. And there’s no particular reason that it shouldn’t continue.

NJ: You mentioned fundamentals for the diamond-buying consumer groups are pretty good. Do you worry at all about income equality, about losing those middle-tier diamond buyers?
SL: I do, yeah. If you look back in terms of the economic crisis, those are the groups that the industry lost. We did lose significant numbers of unit sales at the lower end of the market as those population groups were much harder hit. And it think that’s not good for the universality of diamonds, which has always been at the heart of De Beers’ marketing--that there’s a diamond for every income, they’re all beautiful and everyone should have the opportunity to experience that joy.

So (income inequality) does concern us.

NJ: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the DPA campaign?
SL: Only that I think that some of the coverage I’ve read is sort of saying, “A Diamond is Forever is being replaced,” and I’ve never really thought of it that way. I think that the key for us, the De Beers Group, is to use those different tools effectively. (“A Diamond is Forever” is the intellectual property of the De Beers Group and De Beers uses it for its diamond brand, Forevermark, and De Beers Diamond Jewellers, its chain of retail stores.)

We find that the one-two combination is a knockout blow for the consumer. There’s still this power to the concept of timelessness. One of the things that makes diamonds special is they have this ability to transcend time and generation and relationships.

The benefit of now having the opportunity of a second tool (“Real is Rare”) is it empowers the DPA to go forward with this other really important aspects of diamonds--the authenticity. The combination of timeless and authenticity is pretty powerful.

This is not the end of one, the beginning of another. This is the addition of another powerful thought.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

Bulgari high jewelry campaign
FinancialsJul 24, 2024
LVMH’s First-Half Jewelry, Watch Sales Dip 5%

Tiffany & Co. is focusing on its “iconic” collections while the company has made changes at the top at TAG Heuer and Hublot.

Chaumet Paris 2024 Olympics medals
MajorsJul 24, 2024
See Chaumet’s Paris Olympic Medals Inspired by its High Jewelry

The Parisian brand is the first jewelry company in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to design the medals.

Jewelers Mutual and Union Life and Casualty logos
MajorsJul 24, 2024
Jewelers Mutual Acquires Pawnbroker Insurance Provider

Union Life & Casualty will join JM Insurance Agency Partners, expanding the provider’s pawnbroker coverage.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Bradlei Smith
MajorsJul 24, 2024
Ben Bridge Announces 2024 Lonia Tate Scholarship Winner

Los Angeles-based Bradlei Smith was selected for this year’s award.

Weekly QuizJul 18, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsJul 23, 2024
Peter Smith: The Case for Optimism in Sales

In his latest column, Smith shares multiple reasons why people who look at the glass as being hall full often make better salespeople.

De Beers rough diamond display
SourcingJul 23, 2024
De Beers’ Production Drops 15% in Q2

The company also reported the $150 million sale of an iron ore royalty right, part of its ongoing effort to divest “non-core” assets.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Long’s Jewelers giveaway promo
IndependentsJul 23, 2024
Long’s Jewelers Is Giving Away a Luxury Cape Cod Vacation

The giveaway is part of the New England jeweler’s summer bridal event.

Sophia Moreno-Bunge of Isa Isa modeling Guzema’s Hidden Beauty collection
CollectionsJul 23, 2024
Guzema Debuts ‘Flower Power’ Campaign

The ad features three celebrity florists creating floral sculptures while wearing jewelry by Guzema.

Tresia Shituula, Monkgogi Moshaga, Mohamed Samu
Policies & IssuesJul 23, 2024
Diamonds Do Good Announces Its 2024 Entrepreneurship Grant Winners

The grant provided a total of $100,000 to support 13 entrepreneurs from diamond communities in Africa and India.

Ghazi “Gus” Michel Osta
CrimeJul 22, 2024
Florida Jeweler Shot, Killed Following Argument With Customer

Ghazi Michel Osta, or “Gus,” was killed Friday by an 83-year-old man said to be a frequent customer at his store, Volusia Gold & Diamond.

Elyssa Jenkins-Perez and Effie Marinos
Policies & IssuesJul 22, 2024
JVC’s Elyssa Jenkins-Pérez Joins RJC

The organization also announced Effie Marinos as its new specialist advisor for technical standards, as well as four other appointments.

Karen Rentmeesters
SourcingJul 22, 2024
AWDC Names Karen Rentmeesters as CEO

Rentmeesters has served as interim CEO since April following former CEO Ari Epstein’s resignation.

Brian and Jessie Mann
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
Longtime D.C. Jeweler Brian Mann Dies at 70

Mann, whose family’s jewelry store was located inside the Pentagon, is remembered for being a thoughtful champion of the industry.

Tudor store in Denver
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
The 1916 Company Opens New Tudor Boutique

The 500-square-foot boutique is located in Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Messika’s So Move Max Necklace
CollectionsJul 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Messika’s ‘So Move Max’ Necklace

Dance all night long with the “So Move Max” set’s necklace.

Julien Tornare and Antoine Pin
WatchesJul 18, 2024
TAG Heuer, Hublot Will Have New CEOs

Luxury giant LVMH is reshuffling the leadership in its watches division.

Etsy billboard rendering in NYC
MajorsJul 18, 2024
New Etsy Campaign Prioritizes Creators Amid Backlash

Sellers and shoppers have spoken out against a rise in mass-produced merchandise on the platform meant to highlight handmade goods.

Ariana Grande Modeling in Swarovski Jewelry
MajorsJul 18, 2024
Swarovski Names Ariana Grande as Its New Brand Ambassador

The celebrity will star in Swarovski’s holiday campaign.

Grizzly emerald
SourcingJul 18, 2024
Grizzly Emerald Auction Garners $32.5 million

The miner said an 835-carat emerald saw “stiff competition” in its July sale.

Tahnee Barbee, Gigi Sui, and Daniela Villacorta
Events & AwardsJul 18, 2024
MJSA Education Foundation Announces 3 Scholarship Winners

The winners were awarded $3,000 each to pursue a professional career in jewelry making and design.

Smiling Rocks Haute Couture Dream Necklace
Lab-GrownJul 17, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond ‘Dream’ Necklace Sells for $122K at Charity Auction

The piece, created by Smiling Rocks, was the top lot at the recent Ormeley Dinner.

Diavik Diamond Mine solar power plant
SourcingJul 17, 2024
Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 28% in Q2

The company’s sole remaining diamond operation, Diavik, produced 702,000 carats of diamonds, down from 970,000 a year ago.

Buccellati high jewelry earrings
FinancialsJul 17, 2024
Richemont’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Up 2%

In contrast, the luxury giant’s watch sales fell 14 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest.
Events & AwardsJul 16, 2024
2024 AGTA Spectrum Awards Open for Entries

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest and the deadline for entries has just been extended.

Macy’s Herald Square store
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Macy’s Ends Buyout Talks

The retailer will not be making a deal with Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Management, opting to focus on its turnaround plan.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy