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World Diamond Mark
By: Diamond World News Service
Feb 18 2014 12:30PM
Reference: 8853  

The most ambitious generic marketing plan for the global diamond industry was announced in 2012 in Mumbai. Now, after two years and incessant efforts, the World Diamond Mark is finally ready to take a flight. With plans for the soft launch slated for March 3, 2014 in Hong Kong and then the plans to roll out the first programme in Turkey at the end of March, the event is a highly awaited one. The global launch is planned with a big fanfare on September 17, 2014 in Hong Kong. The World Diamond Mark Foundation has come up with 10 generic marketing programmes for the jewellery retailers worldwide and three exclusive marketing programmes for the Authorised Diamond Dealers. Priyanka Desai gives you an insight into all these intriguing programmes and also brings you an exclusive interview of Alex Popov, Chairman, World Diamond Mark Foundation where he throws light on the progress of the plan, the future ideas, challenges and more.

It was four years ago, an initiative was thought out. An initiative that contains the power to change the face of the global diamond industry was thought out loud amongst four bright and experienced minds of the industry. Suresh Hathiramani, President, Diamond Exchange Singapore, Rumi Baron, President, Diamond Dealers Club of Australia, Alex Popov, President, Moscow Diamond Bourse and Nicholas Chretien, an marketing visionary, worked steadily together for a year with a determination to lay out a solid blueprint that was worthy enough to be proposed to the members of the prestigious committee, World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). They called this idea, the World Diamond Mark (WDM).

It was in the World Diamond Congress in Dubai in 2011, the idea for the WDM was revealed to the WFDB members. The members seemed convinced and offered to provide the seed capital to road test this new idea. Though this was just an idea but it had some spark and the members knew it.

Albeit, the goal was established, there was no turnkey solution at the initial stage. The team decided to take a year and reveal the game plan in the next congress, held in Mumbai. They were on scout for something that would immediately strike a chord with people. A simple and comprehendible concept that would benefit the global diamond industry was conceptualised. This concept was revealed to the world at the World Diamond Congress held in Mumbai in 2012. It was the overwhelming response that fuelled the growth of this initiative. No idea can be fructified without a backing of immense groundwork and research and in order to bring concrete results, it meant investigating the problems that the diamond sector was experiencing in marketing and promotion. As expected it boiled down to a lack of generic promotion. It is a noted fact that there is not only a lack of generic marketing when compared to other luxury products that are heavily promoted, but that the diamond pipeline has fundamentally changed in recent years, thereby compounding the difficulties.

One of the foremosttheories of the World Diamond Mark is the issue of comprehensiveness – ensuring that all sectors of the diamond pipeline are symbolizing including the jewellery retailers, who are the face of the industry to the end consumer.

The Progress of The Plan
Rumi Baron, one of the four-team members who thought of WDM idea shared, “The need and desire for a fundamental change in the industry is massive since there is no real alternative to moving forward. While the concept of branding is rather exclusive, we want to make the WDM extremely inclusive. We want to make it so that everyone can benefit and we are making big efforts to be inclusive.”

Taking the point of inclusiveness further, Alex Popov, Chairman, World Diamond Mark Foundation (WDMF), says, “Since the start of the work, the World Diamond Mark has made serious progress in developing the concept and preparing the groundwork for the launch. Our team has travelled the world and got the inputs of all industry stakeholders. We have always established that we’re inclusive, not exclusive, and listen to the views and opinions of the others. As a result we have amended the core participation principles of the World Diamond Mark. From the beginning we had planned to rely solely on the network of Authorised Diamond Dealers (ADD). During last four-five months we have encountered great interest and support from big chains as well as providers of services to the diamond and jewellery industry.Therefore, we have developed a 2-tier membership structure that allows jewellery retailers to become ADDs as well as to take active participation in WDM promotion activities on local and global scale. The 2-tier membership means that any Authorised Diamond Dealer, small or large, may contribute additional funds to specific generic promotion campaign or event. We call it Strategic Partnership that can be global or local, depending on the scale of contribution.”

When asked to share about the interest that is being generated in the industry, he has a content look and articulates; “We have seen a great deal of interest from various related companies to the WDM programme. So, we have taken a decision to introduce the Global Partner concept where biggest service providers to the industry will become partners of the initiative. The rationale behind this is simple – for years these companies benefited from our industry providing financial, logistics, certification, equipment, exhibition, insurance and other services. Today, when the industry is fighting to renew its image and regain the market share, it is their obligation as well as business interest to take part and return a token part of their profits to the common cause. Therefore, the WDM team and myself met and discussed the programme with industry leaders in China, Hong Kong, Dubai, USA, Belgium, India, Russia, Israel, South Africa, Italy, Turkey, UK, Singapore and Australia. We have signed MoU with GJEPC, HRD and IDMA who wholeheartedly support the initiative. Other major organizations are considering or negotiating similar documents while we speak.”

He further adds, “Everybody is looking forward for the other to take the first step when it comes to generic promotion. The reaction to WDM marketing plan is overwhelming – everybody hails it and sees the opportunities. We have to be very careful not to allow private interest to take over the common goal – health and future growth of diamond sector in the luxury industry.”

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