The Belgian Polished Diamond Traders Association

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Comments made by our  vice presidents Andre Gumuchdjian during the Diamond Producers Association Conference.

Antwerp By Marc Goldstein
Industry Comments on Real is Rare

On November 21, 2016, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) organized a new AWDC Café symposium with Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), as the featured speaker. He gave the first feedback from the DPA’s “Real is Rare” campaign, which launched about six months ago.
   The campaign focuses on the Millennials, between 18 and 34 years old, who number about one billion worldwide. It is expected that some 220 million will buy diamonds, according to the 2016 De Beers Insight Report. Given that 80 million of them are in the U.S., the DPA’s primary focus is on U.S. Millennials. An interesting parallel was drawn to the “tattoo generation” in the U.S. Tattoos seem to share some attributes as diamonds: they are personalized, genuine, authentic, expensive and forever, which make the motivations behind tattooers very relevant as the diamond industry addresses itself to the same generation. The less materialistic the world, the more rare and genuine are the things that people crave. Lieberherr explained, “Let’s not forget that Millennials are a conflicted generation. At the same time, they’re scared about the future and very optimistic because of the opportunities they perceive in the uncertainty.”

Survey Results
   DPA has now completed a survey of the initial creative test with a panel of 400 Millennials. The results regarding the DPA’s two promotional videos — “Wild & Kind” and “Runaways” — were very strong. After watching them:
  • 92 percent agreed that diamonds are unique
  • 72 percent agreed that diamonds are relevant
  • 75 percent agreed the films would change their opinion about diamonds
Audience Questions
   André Gumuchdjian of AV Gumuchdjian NV asked why the term natural was not used at some point in the promotions to stress the natural quality of diamonds. Lieberherr replied, “You can’t reduce natural-grown diamonds to crystallized carbon. It’s a slippery slope. Diamonds are much more than just a piling of atoms. In my opinion, it takes much more in order to qualify being called diamonds. We may have to one day address this issue, but not today. Furthermore, the films are about people, not about diamonds.”
   Lieberherr noted that the DPA “definitely” plans to broaden the scope of its message. “For example, we’re thinking of the older generation, the grandparents, who could be the ones to offer the first diamonds to their grandchildren. Because grandparents have the culture of diamonds that our generation may have lost somewhere along the way, they can transmit it to the next generation.”

What About Europe?
   The focus on the U.S. led one attendee to ask,” “What about Europe?” Lieberherr responded, “So far, of our $12 million 2016 budget, we’re spending $6 million to $7 million from October through December 2016 on several media selected in the U.S. In 2017, our plan is to expand to India and in 2018 to China, with specific tailored campaigns. As far as Europe is concerned, we’re not going to develop any infrastructure before 2019. I have a meeting planned with the Union Française de la Bijouterie where this issue will be addressed among others.”
   Still another attendee asked whether a $12 million budget makes sense when De Beers used to spend about $200 million in the U.S. alone. Lieberherr insisted, “First, I expect our 2017 budget will be substantially higher than it is today. On the other hand, we’ll never go back to the $200 million days because it’s not necessary to go there anymore. Today, people don’t want to be advertised to heavily. Today our job isn’t to make sure the message gets through by spending more than the others. Our task is about doing it in a more clever way than our competitors.”
   Finally, Gumuchdjian asked, “How can we, as an industry, help?” Lieberherr welcomed the question. “There would be two ways. First, if you’re part of an organization, state that as a member you want your organization to join and commit. Second, start thinking how you can relate to our message and convey it further down the retail channel. As far as we’re concerned, we’re not going to give tools, tag lines or complimentary kits before we’re sure our message is understood.”
   The overall feeling was that the “Real is Rare” campaign is definitely a 180-degree turn and a very fresh move compared to what was done previously. Lieberherr concluded with a promising idea, “We’re here to help break the ceiling on the top of polished prices by re-creating value throughout the diamond chain.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - December 2016.