Rapaport Magazine


By Marc Goldstein
Diamonds and Antwerp Initiative Launches

At September’s Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), which brought 115 diamond trading companies to its Diamond Pavilion, unveiled the international launch of its “Diamonds and Antwerp, It’s in our DnA” marketing campaign. First revealed on June 17 in Antwerp by Bart De Wever, the mayor, and Ari Epstein, AWDC CEO, the campaign celebrates the historical bond between the city and the diamond industry. Noting that the two have been “inextricably linked” for more than 550 years, the campaign also looks to the future.

   The idea of using the word play of D for “Diamonds,” n for “and,” and A for “Antwerp” is another original way of reaffirming the city’s major asset as a world diamond center. While the old diamond mile may have had issues with the city, all things considered, if there is one thing that is certain, it is its centuries-old symbiosis with diamonds.

Ten Key Points
   The campaign stresses that Antwerp and diamonds are one, which is further emphasized in a ten-point charter. The AWDC has asked diamantaires to “be part of our DnA” and sign that charter that highlights the unique advantages and qualities they share. The elements in the charter are:
  • A heart for Antwerp and the world
  • A thriving trade center 
  • A philosophy of openness 
  • A passion for craftsmanship 
  • A history of leadership 
  • A firm belief in integrity 
  • A focus on premium quality 
  • Where tradition meets innovation 
  • A commitment to sustainability 
  • A deep respect for shared values 
   Raj Mehta of Rosy Blue noted, “While we talk about our key assets, let’s not forget Antwerp’s logistics, which are very fast, quick and efficient. The ‘DnA’ is a great idea. However, it is very important that it continuously progresses. Emphasizing the Antwerp-diamond relationship is a must and it should be promoted continuously by the Antwerp trade over the long term.”

Positive for Business
   The campaign is also a way of reaching consumers who associate Antwerp and quality diamonds. Generally speaking, the idea of DnA, a concept that goes back to the roots of the link, which runs deep between Antwerp and gems, is perceived as a good thing. It is a positive move especially when you compare it with the old concept of “A” for Antwerp, which was launched by the city itself a couple of years ago and promoted by the AWDC throughout the industry as a new marketing tool. As a matter of fact, the “A” for Antwerp definitely made sense for Antwerp, but it was of poor, if not of no real value, to the diamond industry. At least, with DnA, there’s a content that directly relates to diamonds.

Promotion is Key
   Charlie Friedrich of Flanders Cut International elaborated, “In terms of marketing, everything that is done for Antwerp, by whomever, is welcome. Promotion for Antwerp is key if we want to keep and reinforce consumer awareness for our stones. However, just initiating what could be considered as a brand concept isn’t enough. There must be someone who carries the baby further down toward consumers and who invests in it.” Friedrich went on to describe efforts at his own company. “We’re constantly investing. We do lots of advertising in magazines. We’re getting ready to release a dozen video clips on Flemish TV channels. We’ve always promoted Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium and the royal family. As a result, we managed to be able to rely on their Highnesses to act as our ambassadors. This is key to any marketing business — finding the right leverage. And it’s definitely not a lost cause. Just bear in mind that after so many years with the belief that Amsterdam was the diamond capital of the world, American buyers are switching to Antwerp, which is undoubtedly a direct effect of marketing.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2016. To subscribe click here.

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