Stephen Lussier discusses his worries about lab-grown diamonds.
Yesterday’s Forevermark breakfast saw a flurry of announcements, including new grading reports, its new Black Label collection, a new sub-brand (Petit Diamonds), and an ambitious promotional strategy for the fourth quarter. Those will be the subject of a future report. Following the breakfast, Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier spoke with me about synthetics, grading labs, and why he feels millennials relate to diamonds, and “A Diamond Is Forever.”
JCK: There was a lot of talk about the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) wanting a new slogan to replace your famous slogan “A Diamond Is Forever.” You had some things you wanted to clarify about that.
Stephen Lussier: “A Diamond Is Forever” is an extraordinarily powerful slogan. We are so fortunate at Forevermark to have access to something that is so well-known and creates such an emotional response. I am slightly torn, I have dual roles—I am CEO of Forevermark, and at the same time I am also chairman of the DPA. The view that I took with one of my hats is “A Diamond Is Forever” is the intellectual property of the De Beers Group. It is not something we are willing to make available to the category.
In some ways it makes the DPA’s challenge somewhat harder that they didn’t have access to such a valuable piece of intellectual property. It makes them work harder for other insights. The team has come up with a very strong concept, which put together, is additive and makes the whole more powerful.
Through Forevermark, we are certainly going to keep “A Diamond Is Forever” alive and powerful among future generations. Now we can add in this new insight and new thought to grab the attention of these young consumers. So maybe in the beginning it felt like a constraint, but now it feels like a win-win.
Do millennials relate to “A Diamond Is Forever” in the same way as past generations?
In the end, everybody does. The concept of timelessness is relevant to the millennials. The reason they desire diamonds as a product category is they have this sense that diamonds are like a rock. They are always there, they always will be. They symbolize this important thing. They have integrity. That is what makes diamonds special. The concept of “A Diamond Is Forever” reinforces those core beliefs about diamonds.
The one thing about millennials that is probably quite different from two generations before is they don’t think about relationships as being as permanent as we did 30 years before, even if our thinking was more aspirational than reality. They have grown up in the world where they can see it’s not. The majority grow up with single parents or mixed families. Their reality is very different. They need to think about relationships, and expressing emotions within relationships, in a way that is not about thinking about the next 40 years, but thinking about this year and thinking about the present. Where [the DPA] go to, and where we are with “A Diamond Is Forever,” the result is additively more powerful, because it allows us to talk to millennials with more immediacy.