Rapaport Magazine

Is marketing missing the mark?

The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) runs advertising for the trade as a whole, but store owners have mixed feelings about whether this strategy is working. Four retailers share their thoughts.

By Lara Ewen
Tamara Toms
General manager, carreras Jewelers
Richmond, Virginia
“I don’t think anything the DPA does has made it to our clients, or that any marketing for the industry has made a big difference,” says Toms. “If our clients are aware of the DPA and their marketing, we have not heard it from them.”

What some customers do ask for lately is diamonds that are clearly traceable, she continues. “Many folks in this category, which is extremely small, will opt for a Canadian or Russian mined diamond. And we have not been asked for lab-grown diamonds as of yet.”

Much of the DPA marketing targets the trade rather than consumers, Toms observes. “As an informed jeweler, we like to keep up with things pertaining to our industry, so we see DPA info in the trade magazines.”

Jonathan Zadok
Owner, zadok Jewelers
Houston, Texas
“If there’s no call to action when you do an ad campaign, it’s hard to actually judge [its effectiveness],” says Zadok. “No one comes in [to my store] saying, ‘I saw a “Real Is Rare” ad, and I want to buy a diamond.’ But also, no one ever said that about ‘A Diamond is Forever.’”

He does believe the campaigns are necessary to teach consumers about the difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds. “There’s so much noise coming from lab-grown, and so it’s important to voice the truth about mined diamonds. The DPA needs to be the voice of the natural diamonds. But I can’t rely on the DPA to do advertising for my store. I can rely on them to do the advertising for their product, though, and they have to keep the interest in just wanting a diamond.”

Mona Akhavi
CEO, Vrai
Los Angeles, California
“The DPA has tried to do ‘real and rare,’ but whether or not it’s resonating with millennials, I don’t know,” says Akhavi. Her company, an online jeweler with one showroom in Los Angeles, was acquired by lab-grown producer Diamond Foundry in 2016. “Consumers have been asking, ‘Where is my diamond coming from?’ and whether it’s from a mine in Botswana or a lab, they want to know.”

It’s ultimately about education, she says. “You have to be transparent. And we at the corporation don’t think the DPA is representing us. They could do more in terms of inclusiveness. And it’s not about us. It’s about what’s right for consumers. Millennials and Gen Z want to know if their pieces are sustainable and recycled. The DPA needs to hit on the fact that with this purchase, you’re not only making an impact, but also expressing yourself and standing for something.”

Bob Moeller
President and director of sales, R.F. Moeller
“I think ‘Real is Rare’ is a simple and effective campaign,” says Moeller, whose company has two stores in Minnesota. “People want things that are original and authentic, and it’s easy to amplify that in people if you remind them of that.”

While he feels the DPA is good at representing the industry, he says it could expand its efforts. “I would also love to see them talk about the clean and green aspect of diamonds, and their social aspects, and the good that mined diamonds do. The ‘Real Is Rare’ campaign is terrific, and a natural next step would be to show the prosperity that mined diamonds have produced.” He also recommends that the DPA target finished jewelry as well as loose stones. “There’s no call to action now. But a finished piece is something people can gravitate to. It’s not just about a real diamond, but a real piece of jewelry.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - January 2020. To subscribe click here.

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