Time for Marketing

| January 30th, 2013

This may not be a good time to consider marketing – considering the tough state of diamond jewelry. At the same time, it is precisely because of times like this that generic marketing is so missed.  The times really are tough. Miners are mining less, manufacturers are suffering from the high rough prices and low polished prices, stock levels are rising, Europe is ill, many international stock markets are on a downward slope and in China they are concerned that if the world won’t buy their economy will suffer. In short, the situation is tough.

This may not be a good time to consider marketing – considering the tough state of diamond jewelry. At the same time, it is precisely because of times like this that generic marketing is so missed.  The times really are tough. Miners are mining less, manufacturers are suffering from the high rough prices and low polished prices, stock levels are rising, Europe is ill, many international stock markets are on a downward slope and in China they are concerned that if the world won’t buy their economy will suffer. In short, the situation is tough.

Why should consumers spend on diamonds in such an economy? There are many good reasons actually: weddings, status, (still) available discretionary money, and more.  But, and this is a big but, marketing helps make that decision and without, sales won’t soar.

In Antwerp and Mumbai, the local diamond industries are aware of this and are leading a number of initiatives to promote the goods. The problem is that these are local efforts, that don’t necessarily reach the American, Chinese or Japanese consumer. Worse, not all participants are pitching in.

The miners should lend a hand, the Israeli and American diamond centers need to take a part and a centralized effort launched.

How to finance this is always the question. How about charging traders half a percent of exports? Global exports of more than $22 billion will generate a handsome fund of $110 million dollars. I can’t think of an ad agency that would turn that money away.

With it, in times like this, business could sail more smoothly.

Follow Up On the Lab-Made Diamonds Case
A complaint about the 600 undisclosed lab-made diamonds submitted to IGI was filed with the police in Antwerp. One issue, though very technical, is the custom code used to import the goods into Belgium. Mislabeling an import is illegal, and gives police the first lead to initiate an investigation. A number of people were questioned, and at least one person volunteered additional information.

Stephan Fischler, the new AWDC president, seems adamant to do what he can to take this as far as possible.

In Mumbai, the Barat Diamond Bourse invited Su-Raj and Gemesis owner Jatin Mehta to respond to the allegations. Mehta denied that he owns Su-Raj New York and promised to provide additional information.

In the meantime, concerned that consumers may associate diamonds and diamond jewelry as possibly undisclosed, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) decided to start thinking of ways to protect natural diamonds. As it was presented to me, the goal is consumer protection.

In New York, the Diamond Dealers Club invited Su-Raj New York to respond to the allegations. That was supposed to take place last week.

Michelle Graff, in her excellent National Jeweler online column, “A little less conversation, please,” reported this week that a U.S. law enforcement agency has been contacted in the matter. She quoted Ronald Friedman, president Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America (DMIA), as saying that the DMIA will be “convening a meeting of interested parties,” including law enforcement, various industry bodies and the banks.

Friedman told Graff that there has been some communication between Belgian authorities and those in the United States.

The industry leaders in Antwerp, Mumbai and New York that keep pushing forward this matter deserve our appreciation. These are important and encouraging first steps.

In a somewhat related issue, the Antwerp press is reporting that arrests were made in HRD bribery case.

Source Idexonline

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