The value of the diamond jewelry you are coveting has a long history. It did not have much value. But with perfect marketing strategy and market control, major players change diamond’s perception in the 1800s.
Diamond was initially discovered in 4th BC in India. It quickly became a favorite for European women, particularly for special high-end social events. It was a rare gem during the mid-1800s, but in the 1870s, the discovery of new mines set to change the status quo.
The discovery of South Africa’s mines and similar mines around Europe was set to drive down prices and exclusivity of the gemstone. However, major players like De Beers formed a cartel to control the new mines. As a result, they limited diamond supply based on annual demand to maintain its exclusivity and high prices.
De Beers maintained the illusion of diamond scarcity, driving its exclusivity and prices for industrial and jewel markets. There are growing independent producers, sellers, and even lab-grown diamonds. And De Beers only control 20% of the global diamond market.
So sad, but it’s the reality: diamond’s market value is a manufacture of sheer marketing strategies behind covert business operations. However, the value of a modern diamond is more than that. Here are the key marketing strategies that have made the diamond business so valuable.
1. Drive Exclusivity by Controlling Diamond Supply
The primary narrative that has been sold to the public is the diamond’s rarity and exclusivity. There are gemstones like sapphires that are even rarer than diamonds. Yet, some cost less compared to diamonds.
De Beers artificially manufactured the rarity and exclusivity of diamonds. In the 1870s, large deposits of diamonds were discovered in South Africa’s Kimberly region. More mines were also discovered in Europe around the same time. It was a clear threat to prices as it would pump in excess supply.
As a result, De Beers merged with other entities to form a cartel. The aim was to control diamond production and maintain its scarcity. Hence, the illusion of scarcity persisted and helped retain its exclusivity and price tags.
2. Emotional Marketing
Emotional marketing also plays a vital role in driving a diamond’s business value. Emotional marketing refers to brand messaging designed to capture human emotions and persuade customers. The feelings include happiness or anger, and companies use them to appeal to customer situations.
The historical and modern diamond business employs emotional marketing to drive value. NW Ayer & Sons created an impactful ad entitled “Diamond is Forever” in the 20th century. It was selling the idea that since diamond is rare and deemed the strongest and hardest material, the same applied to love. As a result, gifting your significant other implies love and long-lasting commitment.
In short, companies sold the idea of diamonds as a long-lasting symbol of love, making them de facto engagement rings for “serious” partners. And you couldn’t resell it too.
Now, the modern diamond business drive value from source origin and its impact on the environment. Diamond mining companies move 250 tons of earth to get one diamond carat. And the energy used in the process is massive, besides destroying the ecosystems.
Worst still, blood diamonds remain elusive, destabilizing some diamond exporting countries like DR Congo. Eco-friendly and ethical diamonds can solve the situation. Lab-grown diamonds come in handy. They have the same carat quality without blood on their hands and excessive destruction of the natural environment.
A report by Bloomberg states that over 70% of consumers prefer sustainable diamonds, and they could pay 10% for premium prices. Current blockchain provenance systems like Everledger help track diamond source origins to eliminate blood diamonds. But, lab-grown diamonds remain the most ethical, eco-friendly diamond.
These emotional marketing tactics capitalize on consumers’ beliefs about love and fear of the environment. In the 20th century, it increased the market for engagement rings and reduced their resales to drive scarcity. Emotional marketing is the main driving force behind the current lab-grown diamond market expansion.
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3. Men Became Real Target Audience
Apart from endearing love birds to diamond jewelry, De Beers wanted to increase the popularity of surprise proposals. And that means an increase in sales of proposal rings. It sought the services of NW Ayer, the mind behind the “Diamond is Forever” campaign.
Ayer found that women wore the rings in heterosexual relationships. But, they would go for cheaper diamond jewelry if involved in the selection process. De Beers changed that and shifted the power to men.
The idea behind surprise proposals was to eliminate women in the engagement ring selection process. That would also help remove their alleged cheap choices too. As a result, men are perceived to be less cautious with spending and were given the purchasing power. As surprise proposals picked speed, so did expensive diamond engagement rings bought by men for their fiancees.
Hence, turning men into the actual target audience using surprise proposals improve the diamond’s industry bottom line. Since men are deemed less-cautious spenders, the trend improved the diamond’s value.
4. Influencer Marketing Strategy to Popularize Diamond Jewels
Influencer marketing also came in handy to further popularize diamonds amongst the society’s elite and pop culture figures. Influencer marketing involves partnering with influential figures in the community for brand positioning and awareness.
NW Ayer recognized the power of influencer marketing and sought ladies that command influence in pop culture. It sent quality sparkling diamonds to stars in the film and music industry. Also, it gifted first ladies of the state, alongside socialites, with luxurious diamond jewelry.
Besides, Ayer engaged over 100 newspapers to cover the diamonds that this exclusive category of women wore to gain broad reach. As a result, the diamond was painted as an exclusive status symbol.
For example, Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are girls’ best friend” in the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” reinforces diamond influencer marketing. Suddenly, diamonds became a necessary luxury, especially for weddings and proposals.
Influencer marketing using pop stars is at play even today. For example, Chiarra Ferragni, now Hublot’s new face, was an influencer for Chopard, a swiss jewelry company. So, influencer marketing targeting top pop culture figures has maintained the diamond’s business value.
The value you attach to your coveted diamond jewels has come a long way. It almost collapsed in the 1870s after the discovery of several diamond mines around the world. But, De Beer acted swiftly and consolidated the market and supply chain.
Diamonds’ industry value is traceable to De Beer’s actions that reinforce the scarcity and exclusivity of diamonds. It became a monopoly to control the diamond’s supply. Also, it adopted emotional and influencer marketing to further broaden its market reach among society’s elite.
Emotional and influencer marketing still plays a vital role in maintaining modern diamond business value.