These days, most jewelry designers work on a shoestring budget, reinvesting whatever profit they make into creating new pieces for their collections. Furthermore, jewelry store owners are wary of spending money on advertising because they can’t predict its effectiveness and what its return on investment will be.
Through advertising in the late 1940s, diamond brand DeBeers coined the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever.” Their ads dramatically changed the course of the bridal jewelry industry. But today’s consumers have more choices, and they’re happy to exercise their freedom of choice. As a result, they’re not as singlemindedly swayed by a brilliant ad slogan.
In general, unless you’re a jewelry brand with a dedicated budget for advertising (money you won’t miss by allocating it solely for advertising), you shouldn’t try to scrape together money you might need for something else.
You’re probably scratching your head and wondering: How, in this day and age, can I put myself in front of potential customers without shouting over my competitors? Don’t I need to buy expensive, fancy advertising to legitimize myself?
The answer is: definitely not, at least not at the beginning. Have you ever heard of a brand called “Starbucks”? Let me tell you how they were able to do it so that you can follow their example.
Starbucks is a successful, global brand that was founded in 1971 and didn’t start advertising on television until 1997. I can still remember feeling stunned when I saw a Starbucks TV commercial for the first time because I was so used to NOT seeing them on TV and so used to them just being there. Everywhere.
Sure, Starbucks’ competitors like Dunkin’ Donuts have had success with more traditional advertising campaigns in print, on the radio, and on television; I’m not trying to convince you that advertising is a terrible strategy for increasing brand awareness. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to spend the money until you have it.
While born in 1971, Starbucks could be seen as belonging to the club of whole-experience brands exemplified by companies that launched or came of age after the digital revolution—think Google and Zappos. These are companies known for product, customer service, overall ethos and voice, and whose brands aren’t heavily associated with advertising. As a brand built more on a word-of-mouth approach, your Starbucks associations are more likely tied to its staff, its stores, and its products than its ads. – Fast Company
How did Starbucks get away with not advertising for so long and still grow the brand at a rapid pace?
They focused instead on building a solid brand with all the qualities mentioned in the Fast Company quote above: a desirable product with consistency across all store locations, exceptional customer service, and an identifiable and distinct image supported by an unwavering mission. No amount of glossy, high-budget advertising can convince a customer to become a loyal fan of a brand that lacks any of the aforementioned qualities.
Follow Starbucks’ example by working on the following:
Product development: Make sure your jewelry is wearable and desirable. Revise your designs and inventory until they match the image you want to portray to customers. Offer a quality product that will make potential customers drool and inspire them to add your jewelry to their wish lists.
Customer service: In most cases, jewelry is not an insignificant purchase, and customers want to feel like the seller actually cares about his or her dollar. Focus on hiring the best and most talented customer service associates and standardize the process of handling customer complaints and issues. Be aware of how your customers are feeling and do everything you can to keep them happy.
Company mission and brand voice: Define yourself and be sure that everything you make public – your products, your photos, your written communications, your conversations with customers and business partners – matches that definition. The same way that you can anticipate your experience no matter what Starbucks you enter, anywhere in the world, your brand should be that predictable, but never in a boring way.
What will you earn as a result? You’ll develop a solid brand that will thrive on word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied customers. Your products will also easily lend themselves to social media marketing (free!) because they’ll have a clearly defined focus with an obvious story attached to them.
When you’ve grown your business and finally have the budget for more traditional advertising, you will have done the difficult work of thinking through the image you want to project to customers. As a result, you’ll have a more clear vision of how you want to present your brand visually and be able to communicate that vision to advertising agencies or third-party collaborators.
Have you spent money on advertising? What was the result?
Featured photo by Sam valadi