RAPAPORT... In this video, Stephen Lussier, the CEO of Forevermark and the executive vice president of marketing for De Beers, advised retailers to tell the story about diamonds in order to captivate consumers and draw them into a store. The challenge facing the diamond jewelry industry is not solved by throwing more money at advertising, but by improving the "quality" of diamond jewelry campaigns and digital outreach.
Step-back from talking about "price" until the story of the diamond is clear, he said. "What makes consumers buy diamonds is not the product and the price; it's the diamond dream, those emotional messages that make people want to engage in the category in the first place," he said. "I want to see more emotive communication.... let's tell stories about diamonds."
A retailer's marketing campaign should address the emotional and timeless messages that make diamonds unique. Even for an independent jeweler who does not have an unlimited budget to pay for an advertising agency, Lussier suggested "think for yourself. What is it that would engage you and make you emotively attracted to a category -- and get that into your messages. It's not so hard. We can do it if we want."
Millennials' shopping patterns reflect different norms than previous generations, he said. They've completed the leg work online on how to buy a diamond before walking into a jeweler's store; they understand the 4Cs, and "the rational work" is done, he said. Jewelers must therefore engage millennials emotionally to make them feel connected with the brand and to the diamond story.
For example, he explained that Forevermark's diamond story is about improving the lives of people residing where diamonds are extracted, responsible sourcing and preserving wildlife -- all of these issues are paramount to the brand's value statement "and create a story" for consumers who share those same views.
Lussier acknowledged that producing content can be expensive, but in the digital world, it need not be "if you get it right creatively.
"(Retailers can) capture consumers with a 30-second commercial, a print ad that he flips over -- or get three or four minutes of his time online and engage him in depth with 'your story.' The content has to be good. You can't just tell them what you want; millennials want to hear the story and be engaged in the story and hear what their friends think of that story," he said.
If the retailer needs assistance creating a quality outreach plan and deliverables, but has a very limited budget, Lussier advised jewelers to explore local startup digital marketing firms that are very likely to welcome any new opportunity to build their own business.