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Generic Promotion To Sustain The Diamond Dream
There is a close connect between advertising and spending. Neither a global economic slowdown nor a recession could restrict worldwide spending on personal luxury goods, estimated to touch US $275 billion in 2012, and growing in double digits. Diverting the flow of this global spend on luxury, into diamonds, would be like a game of Russian roulette, except that the World Federation of Diamond Bourses has a smart plan to bring about the shift. Generic promotion through the World Diamond Mark is the answer, which proposes to unite players in the diamond pipeline. Riding on the failure of the International Diamond Board, the World Diamond Mark is all set to take off in July 2013, with the slogan, When the World Loves, we are here.’ A feature on the generic promotion for diamonds. By Aasha Gulrajani Swarup.
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 1 2013 12:15PM
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Reference: 7509  

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In the 1930s, when America was in the midst of the Great Depression, the stock market had crashed, and world diamond prices had plummeted, a company with diamonds to sell, wondered, “when people don’t have bread, will someone buy a diamond?”

The copywriter at the advertising agency literally prayed for an answer. Her slogan, “A diamond is forever,” went on to become the most successful line in the industry. Diamonds became the symbol of love and every woman aspired to be gifted a diamond on special occasions. By the time, America came out of the Depression, 80 per cent of weddings in the country were incomplete without a diamond ring. Successful generic advertising also changed the public psyche in Japan as diamonds went on to become an integral part of a traditional Japanese wedding.

Ironically, the woman who coined the phrase never married. For De Beers, the diamond conglomerate behind this generic marketing blitzkrieg, which ran for almost 50 years, it proved a worthy game-changing investment. The romance of the diamond still sustains.

Concedes Andrew Bone, Global Head of Government & Industry Relations for De Beers, “'A Diamond is Forever' was acknowledged by many as the most powerful and successful advertising slogan of the 20th Century. There is no doubt that De Beers' generic campaigns helped to create and maintain the 'diamond dream' and was instrumental in opening new markets such as Japan in the 60s and 70s.”

Since De Beers decided to focus more on promoting its own brands, like Forevermark, and withdrew its generic campaign, was it a mere co-incidence that consumer spending on diamonds decreased over time, or is history repeating itself?

History Repeats Itself?

Seventy years later, the world is going through an economic slowdown. Diamonds are no longer on the priority list, and even growth in the global expenditure on diamonds is marginal, as buyers have become cautious about luxury spending. Diamond players for long have been toying with the idea of getting together to collectively promote diamonds. Perhaps now is the right time to let the drums roll for the second round of the generic promotion for diamonds. When prices of polished diamonds have dropped and for the first time since 2008, prices of diamond roughs are reportedly heading for an annual decline. The idea has finally taken off.

Diamond World spoke to the man executing this idea. Alex Popov, president of the Moscow Diamond Bourse is part of a four-man team tasked to develop the World Diamond Mark program, under which the generic promotion of diamonds is to be launched.

Popov says, “All major luxury items advertise heavily, except diamonds. Lack of clear brand awareness leads to loss of market share. During the last 10 years, while expenditure on luxury products jumped 60 per cent, the expenditure on diamonds increased by only 15 per cent. We want customers to spend on diamonds, which is a luxury product, truly forever, and unlike other high value goods, goes through generations. A diamond is eternal and to keep it so, generic promotion is necessary.”

Agrees Bone. “As competition from other luxury goods and services increases, generic advertising would help to keep the 'category' of diamonds in the minds and imagination of the consumer.”

World Diamond Mark Program

The World Diamond Mark is the new partnership initiative set up under a non-profit organisation in Hong Kong that will work as the largest accreditation and marketing arm of the diamond industry. The World Diamond Mark was launched in Mumbai in October 2012, by the World Federation of diamond Bourses, the largest diamond organisation, representing 28 affiliated diamond bourses worldwide and membership of 95 per cent of world diamond dealers, and backed by the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA). The entire diamond and jewellery industry was invited to be partners in this global initiative.

Membership & Fees

The WDM program is a voluntary membership programme which makes it a win-win situation for all. The WDM already has 4000 members on board, who have either taken membership or it is under process.

There is a one-time joining fee of US $400 and an annual membership fee of US $100 per showcase or shop. If a retailer has a chain of stores, they can negotiate for a better rate. Upon membership, the retailer is given a special hologram showing him as an authorised diamond dealer. The proceeds shall be used for generic advertising and promotion of diamonds.

Although the WDM welcomes all the stake holders in the diamond industry as partners in this initiative, its expected membership strength of 5000 members in the first year, shall be initially drawn from local retailers only. The first phase is restricted for the diamond organisations, retailers and manufacturers only. “Diamond miners are expected to join after the second phase. We shall be talking to miners, DeBeers, Rio Tinto, Harry Winston, Alrosa. Even the small miners in Zimbabwe, who are not in a position to contribute big amounts, are keen to support this program. We want to be inclusive, not exclusive,” explains Popov.

Within five years, the membership to the WDM program is expected to increase to 60,000 members, drawn from Hong Kong, India, China, Russia, Australia, Middle East, Japan, the USA and lastly Europe.

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