Las Vegas, NV—The Diamond Producers Association unveiled a new generic diamond marketing plan during a special breakfast presentation at the JCK show last week. Its tagline, “Real Is Rare,” is hoped to become as resonant with consumers as the legendary “A Diamond Is Forever,” slogan (owned by De Beers) has been since its inception in 1946.
The DPA team, led by CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr, outlined the results of proprietary research and plans for the first category marketing campaign from the fledgling DPA.
“Real is Rare” is the result of six months of development, including in-depth research into millennial consumers. As Lieberherr said in this exclusive interview with The Centurion Newsletter, Millennials are overbombarded with superficial digital connections and long for authentic and real relationships.
The idea that diamonds have the gravitas and power to celebrate and mark an authentic connection—not necessarily a life’s milestone—resonates deeply with Millennials. For many Millennials, diamonds have come to represent traditional rituals, bling, and status, none of which resonate with them. In his interview with The Centurion Newsletter, Lieberherr explained, “Not to say these [motivations for] purchases are wrong, but it’s to say they (Millennials) need to feel good about it. What we’re saying here is we are going to add meaning to it. It’s got to make them feel really good inside. We’re not saying their motivations are monolithic. Fundamentally, there’s an emotional need and if you meet an emotional need it’s a lot more powerful.”
The DPA research found the opportunity exists for diamonds to represent the rare, precious, and real connections that in life that these consumers crave. “Real is Rare” redefines diamonds for the 21st century, giving them new meaning as a symbol to celebrate the real connections we choose to make.
Online research was conducted by 360MarketReach, with a nationally representative sample of U.S. Millennials. Nine in 10 said they feel the idea is unique. Two-thirds also said that they feel the idea is “appealing” and “relevant” to them.
As a result, the DPA came up with the “Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond,” campaign to build and sustain Millennials as diamond consumers for years to come. The DPA is working with agency partner Mother New York to develop the creative for the campaign, which will go live in September. The media plan—with a $12 million spend—is still being finalized, but will focus on digital and social media channels targeted to the Millennial audience and will reach them where they are already consuming media.
In his interview with The Centurion Newsletter, Lieberherr said the media mix will have a lot of social media, as well as paid tv, digital sites, and possibly some outdoor. The DPA board also is looking at radio as well—a surprisingly good fit for the campaign, he said.
The new campaign will not be segmented by affluence. “We wanted something as representative as possible, as there’s a great deal of uniformity in aspirations. These cohorts or tribes are the most homogenous generation that we’ve ever seen in the way they consume media, and consume in general. And not just in the USA, but globally. This platform will work across age groups and across countries. What we wanted to find is a human truth that diamonds play to and I think we have something that’s quite broad yet very relevant.”
Since the legendary “A Diamond Is Forever” slogan was written, forever is how both the industry and consumers have viewed them. But for consumers that are used to upgrading their phones and electronics every year and their clothing as often as every few weeks, “forever” is not necessarily a motivator.
Says Lieberherr, “We are not really talking about forever. One of the rare things that you own that define you and that are real and genuine are very special relationships that you cherish. People still crave deep and real relationships. I think the more they turn around their wardrobes and phones, the more they’re going to need these rare and genuine moments and relationships that are really meaningful.”
Millennials also are notoriously price-savvy, and paying less is a badge of honor for them. But Lieberherr says when you put an emotional component on a product, then their approach is completely different.
“Luxury goods companies and brands are very good at sustaining profits despite volume. We think we can add a hell of a lot of emotional value to diamonds, but everybody has to do their job. Right now we’re developing a new way to talk about diamonds and change perceptions. The retailer and the whole industry has to build on this platform we’re creating. It’s something that takes time. At this time what we want to do is connect the product and give the younger generation a reason to want to buy a diamond by talking to their values and needs.”
Lieberherr also addressed the need for transparency. “We need to hold our industry in the light. We can't say one thing and do another. The DPA is a driving force in continuation of improvement from mine to market, from the health and safety of miners to the retail level.”
DPA’s David Lamb said, “We sought to locate and explore what sits in the deep blue intersection of diamonds, people, and culture. DPA set out to find a new purpose for diamonds that will take them not just into holiday season but into future generations.”
Stephen Lussier, CEO of Forevermark and chairman of the DPA, said, “This is an important milestone for the diamond industry. The DPA members coming together to launch this campaign will create a new cultural movement around diamonds that we are confident will benefit the entire industry.”