Las Vegas, NV—As is its custom in Las Vegas, Forevermark brought its retailer and manufacturer partners together for a breakfast to unveil its upcoming fourth-quarter advertising and marketing campaign.
At the Thursday morning event, following a special address by Neo Jane Masisi, first lady of the Republic of Bostwana, Forevermark US president Charles Stanley (left) introduced, “I Take You, Until Forever,” the marketing plan for its new Engagement & Commitment Collection, the premium product it introduced at its recent Forum.
An emotional marketing campaign developed to go with the new collection explores the beauty and reality of the vows that a couple makes to one another and a more modern view of love and relationships than just a traditional man-to-woman proposal and ring.
Both prices and acquisition rates of diamond bridal jewelry have softened, said Stanley. “Since that’s the foundation of the diamond business, we need to take action.” In developing the collection and the campaign, Forevermark conducted extensive research on consumers’ bridal design preferences and current attitudes around the role a diamond plays in a couple’s journey to forever and, from that research, created a capsule collection it believes meets consumer design desires.
The number of brides receiving a diamond engagement ring has slowly but steadily declined in the United States since its peak in 1985. Chart: De Beers
The Forevermark Engagement & Commitment Collection marks the first collection fully produced by the diamond brand. Each ring is stamped with the Forevermark icon inside the band. The collection features timeless engagement rings in round, oval, and cushion diamond shapes, plus commitment bands for women and men. At the center of each engagement ring is a Forevermark diamond, with its inscription representing the brand’s promise that each diamond is beautiful, rare, and responsibly sourced, said Stanley.
The collection includes 17 engagement ring styles with center diamonds ranging from 0.30 carat to 1.00 carat (larger centers available by request), and 11 classic wedding bands. The collection is set in platinum, but designs are also available in 18k yellow or rose gold.
Because the collection is relatively small, Stanley urged retailers to fill in with SKUs from Forevermark partner manufacturers. “Forevermark should be seen as an anchor for your bridal business, augmented with other merchandise.”
Key to the success Forevermark anticipates from the collection is new insight into the bridal market: one where marriage is no longer a necessity, said Stanley.
“The dynamics are changing. Couples are actively choosing to marry after major milestones like buying a home or having a child, whereas before it always preceded those events. Today, 'forever' is created through the commitment couples make on a daily basis of normal activities.”
Stanley related his own family’s story to illustrate. He and his wife married after a whirlwind courtship of only six months and never lived together before marriage, whereas their daughter and her boyfriend recently got an apartment together before taking any vows.
“I need to see if we can live together,” she told her father pragmatically.
Like his own daughter, most women are pragmatic today, says Stanley. “Often [the bridal] purchase is made jointly, and women encourage their partner to spend less. They balance it against other expenses, and they also will consider another less expensive gem in place of a diamond, whereas the man is the one that wants to choose a traditional diamond engagement ring.”
The good news from De Beers’ research is that while the abstract idea of a diamond didn’t have an emotional connection for consumers, their own diamond does, he explained. “Forever is no longer a fairy-tale ending and is instead created through the active choices a couple make daily to commit to one another. Over time their diamond gains more meaning, and is a constant reminder of the partnership.
“With the new collection, we offer our consumers a premium product with an emotional, intimate, and genuine campaign to raise your bridal business,” he said.
Forevermark put a new twist on how to approach the bridal customer by connecting their unique love to the unique attributes of Forevermark diamonds. The "I Take You, Until Forever" campaign illustrates partnership: the featured couples are obviously living together, and the voiceover theme says, “I take you to be my best friend. I take you until forever. Forevermark Engagement and Commitment Collection. Each Forevermark diamond is beautiful, rare, and responsibly sourced.”
The campaign features a two-minute film—shown at the breakfast—which will be shortened for TV and digital, as well as print and a suite of other assets for jewelers to use in their local markets. It will launch in early July, continuing through holiday. All campaign assets will be available to participating Forevermark jewelers.
“It’s very intimate, honest, and authentic,” says Stanley, pointing out that the majority of couples shown in the videos are real-life couples so that the chemistry came through on camera.
He also announced a series of training workshops to be held for store associates, to help them better communicate what it means to be beautiful and rare. The one-day workshops will be held in five U.S. cities from August to November.
“We have an opportunity to use the Forevermark story to sell more diamonds!” he said. (Since launching in 2011, the brand has sold more than 54,000 diamonds in the United States, posting a compound annual growth rate of 27%.)
Stanley also made another reminder pitch for the female self-purchase market, the focus of De Beers’ efforts last year. The United States is the world’s largest and fastest growing diamond market and young women age 18-34 are leading that growth, accounting for almost half of the U.S. diamond market by value. And among those women, self-purchasers are the fastest-growing segment. Forevermark is undertaking extensive research in design preferences and purchasing habits, and next year’s focus will be on a brand-new collection to build on the brand for that market. For this year, however, the brand will continue promoting it the same as last year, and also will promote Tribute for holiday gifting and continue to call attention to its Exceptional Diamond collection.
Stanley also described the extensive effort that went into identifying the consumer targets for the new bridal campaign. Using a fictitious pre-engaged couple nicknamed “Heather and Mike,” Stanley illustrated how it will help jewelers. Heather represents the largest female segment: highly educated, caring, quietly confident. They’re modern romantics who are heavy hitters that love diamonds. Her male counterpart, Mike, is generous, romantic, an avid learner and tech fanatic, into sports, and wants to get it right no matter the cost.
“To target our consumers, we take what we know and leverage the power of data to reach them digitally through dynamic creative optimization. We tailor our message to the consumer interest at that moment using real time data.”
Dynamic Creative Optimization allows an incredible degree of personalization of ads based on what consumers are searching or reading at that moment, explained Stanley. De Beers research found 60% of consumers said more relevant ads result in more positive brand engagement.
Tracking data shows Heather has been in the relationship a few years. She’s 29, a shopper who loves fashion, binge-watching TV, and is into home decor. Through DCO, the ads can speak to her when she’s on her phone or when browsing. So for instance, when she’s on a DIY site, the ads she sees can change for diamonds.
Her partner, Mike, is 38 and loves travel and sports. He’s a romantic who cares about the couple’s own love story. He’s ready to view diamonds in a jewelry store as he’s ready to propose.
“Since we know his exact location, we can direct him to the nearest authorized Forevermark jeweler.”
Marketing dollars become more effective when reaching a precise audience directly, said Stanley. “We’re laser-targeting these difficult-to-find consumers, and complementing with a paid social media campaign and custom content on a number of websites.
Streaming platforms (i.e. Hulu, Pandora, Spotify) are the target consumers’ preferred access, he said. “Heather” might also see ads in print, aligning with interest and passion publications. Jewelers can use their co-op dollars for any of these efforts, and Forevermark has identified three ad agencies that excel in local digital campaigns, which partner jewelers can use.
“We are confident we have the campaign to drive customers to Forevermark.com and to stores. They need to know that if they see a ring on our website, they can drive to a store that has that product.” Forevermark.com will not be selling these products via e-commerce, but rather will have a store locator and a place to make an appointment.
Also launching on Forevermark.com will be a build-your-own engagement ring segment; again, always directing the ultimate sale to a local retailer.
“We look to you, our partners, to help reinvigorate the bridal category and help our forever,” finished Stanley.