Building a Brand Identity for Jewelry Businesses
Visit joyjoya.com/jump for all the details.
In episode #226 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I’m talking about branding. What’s a brand, really? Why’s brand identity so important in 2023 and beyond? It’s time to get your jewelry brand in tip-top shape, so you can compete in the marketplace and attract your best-fit customers.
If you didn’t already listen to episode #225, you should know that I debuted an exciting new direction for the podcast as well as a new FREE program that will help you kickoff 2023 with all the resources you’ll need to make this a banner year. #225 was the welcome episode, and this episode is the first “lesson” in the program.
To give you a brief recap before we jump in, from now through early July of this year, I’ll be rolling out a free (yes FREE) six-month, podcast-guided program called “Jewelry Marketing Jumpstart” which will involve weekly audio and video lessons as well as companion PDF downloads for each new episode.
- I’ll continue doing THE GOLD MINE as well, but it’ll be wrapped into the weekly episodes as a brief segment rather than in individual episodes.
- I’ll also add in interviews as bonus episodes when I meet someone particularly inspiring who I think can offer value to you.
- I’ll still give a news roundup, but it’ll be toward the end of the episode rather than at the beginning – listen through to the end of this one to get the news!
Sign Up for Jewelry Marketing Jumpstart – joyjoya.com/jump
Check out the transcript below.
Ready to break free from algorithms, vanity PR, and money-sucking ads? My name’s Laryssa Wirstiuk, and I’ve learned in 7 years of jewelry marketing that content is the crown jewel. My agency Joy Joya takes a holistic approach, leading with laser-focused storytelling, impactful content creation, and strategic content distribution. This method has worked for the solopreneur as well as the multi-million-dollar company, and now I’m sharing these systems and tactics with you. Here’s to standing out in the Sea of Sparkle.
This is Episode #226, and today I’m going to be talking about branding. What’s a brand, really? Why’s brand identity so important in 2023 and beyond? It’s time to get your jewelry brand in tip-top shape, so you can compete in the marketplace and attract your best-fit customers. If you didn’t already listen to episode #225, you should know that I debuted an exciting new direction for the podcast as well as a new FREE program that will help you kickoff 2023 with all the resources you’ll need to make this a banner year. #225 was the welcome episode, and this episode is the first “lesson” in the program. To give you a brief recap before we jump in, from now through early July of this year, I’ll be rolling out a free (yes FREE) six-month, podcast-guided program called “Jewelry Marketing Jumpstart” which will involve weekly audio and video lessons as well as companion PDF downloads for each new episode. I’ll continue doing THE GOLD MINE as well, but it’ll be wrapped into the weekly episodes as a brief segment rather than in individual episodes. I’ll also add in interviews as bonus episodes when I meet someone particularly inspiring who I think can offer value to you. I’ll still give a news roundup, but it’ll be toward the end of the episode rather than at the beginning – listen through to the end of this one to get the news! If you want to sign up for the FREE full program right away and get the companion PDF download to this episode, visit joyjoya.com/jump. Link in show notes as well.
But before we get to the solid gold, I’d like to take a moment to remind you that this podcast has both audio and video – so you can either listen on your favorite podcast platform or watch on YouTube by searching “Joy Joya”. You can support the podcast for free by taking the time not only to subscribe but also to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. I want to read my favorite review of the week! bignbeetful says, “As an avid student of business, I would recommend this podcast 1000%. If you’re like me and love to listen to topics such as business development, growth, mindset, and entrepreneurship, this is the place to be.” Thank you! If you leave a review, I might read it on a future episode – please let me know what you think about this episode or about any other major takeaways you’ve had recently.
Okay, my sparklers! Let’s get into this second installment of “Jewelry Marketing Jumpstart” all about brand identity. And again, if you’d like to download the companion PDF worksheet for this episode, as well as all the future ones to come, go to joyjoya.com/jump for the exclusive hookup. Think of them as your roadmap to growth for 2023. All right. Maybe you’ve been serving your customers for decades or a few months. Or maybe you’re thinking about starting a brand this year, and you don’t even have one yet. Regardless, you can always benefit from checking in with your core values, your storytelling, and your visual presence. How are you visually coming across to your customers? So you need to ask yourself, no matter what stage you are in your brand, is my brand authentically representing the heart and soul of my jewelry business? And does it resonate with the specific customers that I’d like to be attracting? For most jewelry entrepreneurs and leaders, the word “brand” can feel really abstract and enigmatic. Many equate their brand with the look of their social media feed, the design of their packaging, the layout of their ecommerce website, the merchandising in their physical store if they have one, or even just by the inventory, by the products that they carry. But very few that I see out there are really putting forth the effort to intentionally establish an identity and then adjust it over time as needed. So if you’re not convinced that having a brand is pretty much one of the most important aspects of running a successful jewelry business, let me answer the question. Why does branding matter? And why now?
Let me tell you, the modern consumer is savvier than ever before. No longer are they loyal to just one or a few brands. Instead, they are engaged in online research, they’re seeking the best value, they’re not afraid to take a chance and order something from say a different part of the world if that means they’ll get a better deal, faster turnaround time, better customer service, etcetera. So when you’re lacking emotional ties with the customer, aka the brand, then you’ll always just be competing on price with all the Internet has to offer, down to the bottom of that hole. You know, you can compete on price forever; there’s a certain point where it just won’t make sense anymore. But that’s how competitive the industry can be if you are not attracting customers based on your brand, rather than the product or the price that you offer. So as a result, you’re going to become a commodity rather than a trusted resource and partner for your customers. So let me ask you, do you want to be a commodity? Or a legend? Think about that one.
So as I just mentioned a few moments ago, branding is probably one of the most important but also one of the most intangible aspects of running a business. The finances, yeah, okay, you can like have a spreadsheet, everything’s really clear, the marketing data that’s pretty clear and transparent. The branding, though, is can be very abstract. It can also be difficult to measure the impact of a brand. And that’s why this is so so challenging. So what the heck does brand identity even mean? For some people, and maybe, you (no shame) brand equates to the business name or the logo, a lot of startup entrepreneurs will agonize over those two things. And they’re completely neglecting the big picture. A brand is so much more than the sum of just those two parts. So here’s what it is. Ultimately, a brand is the feeling a customer has when they interact with your business. It’s sometimes a difficult thing to put into words. But when it’s done right, it’s deeply felt like in your gut, you just you just know it. And sometimes there are not even words to say what that feeling is, especially for a customer and they interact with your brand often they’re not going to sit around and like intellectualize it, and try to put vocabulary to it. But they feel it in their soul in like such an undeniable, clear way. So, for jewelry, especially the products themselves, even if they’re beautiful diamond rings, they don’t inspire genuine feelings. I hate to say it. The fun that a customer has in your store, whether that’s online or brick and mortar while shopping, or the trust a customer feels when you promise to fix their jewelry. Those are all important elements of a brand because they evoke true emotions and like visceral reactions from the customer. And unfortunately, thinking something is pretty isn’t doesn’t have enough depth. Because we all know especially in jewelry, like everything’s pretty. It’s all pretty. So what separates one pretty from another?
And these more these deeper feelings, these visceral feelings, those things will really do that. So most jewelry entrepreneurs are just too close to their own businesses to even recognize some of these abstract things. So if you’re too close to it, how can you find it? How can you uncover your distinguishing factor and really shape your brand? First, you can ask your employees, your business partners, contractors, your customers, of course, to try to describe your business in their own words. They’ll probably have trouble coming up with the words, but at least you can scratch the surface and start to get insights that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You can consider inviting some of your best customers to complete a survey, or a focus group in exchange for an incentive, like a discount or free gift. So pay attention to what are some of the adjectives that are popping up regularly? Are you surprised to learn how the people closest to your business are thinking about it? Use this feedback as a springboard for how you continue to evolve your brand and for storytelling in the future. Again, if you go to joyjoya.com/jump, I will have tips and specific exercises regarding what I just said that can really help you through this process. So don’t stop at finding your brand identity and then writing it into your business plan or in some internal document and then like forgetting where it lives. I encounter this so much when I’m having like initial discovery calls with brands. “Oh, yeah, we like wrote that up a long time ago. And we have it stashed away somewhere in like a Dropbox folder, but we don’t really look at it or reference it, or think about the impact that it can have in our business.” So you actually have to be communicating the brand. In a general sense, this means being consistent above all, and regularly showing up to your target customers. The biggest mistake in branding, pay attention to this, is not necessarily that you’ve got the wrong brand. Okay. And hopefully this will make all of this a little less nerve wracking. The biggest mistake is not necessarily that you’ve got the wrong brand, because your brand is going to evolve over time anyway. But actually, that you’re not communicating it clearly enough with consistency and with commitment. Okay, most jewelry businesses, the biggest mistake they’re making with their brand is they’re not amplifying the brand loudly enough.
You may think something is obvious to your customers. But I can promise you nine times out of 10 it is not obvious enough. Most of them are too busy, too distracted to see your business through the same lens that you’re viewing your business. So how can you amplify? How can you get out that megaphone and loudly and proudly communicate what makes your brand unique? Again, I have even more tips in the worksheet which you can get at joyjoya.com/jump. But here are some action items to get you started. So of course, you want to create a consistent look, tone and feel on your website and ensure that all the language is telling the same story in the same voice. And then if you have a brick and mortar presence, then also make sure that brand is being communicated visually, that the people who work in your store are able to tell the same story, lead with the same kind of brand values and, and the most important points that you want to be sharing with your customers. Send frequent email campaigns and post on social media with a regular cadence. Ensure that the language and visuals in these campaigns is consistent, telling a coherent story, emphasizing your values, the things that make your brand unique, the things that would pique and develop emotional ties over time with your audience. Create content, whether that’s written content, visual video content that continues to tell this story over and over and over in creative ways and in multiple formats. So just as a totally random example, if your brand empowers working moms, and that’s your target audience, and you’re committed to making them feel special, valued, and beautiful. Then maybe you create content with like tips for being a mom like balancing work and life or like finding time for yourself. Maybe it’s not directly related to selling your jewelry, but it relates to the values you embody, thus creating like depth and richness and like true resonance about the story that you want to be sharing. If you send direct mail campaigns, ensure that they look like your website and any other marketing content, and that the language matches as well across all of them. If you have multiple team members working on your marketing, then they all need to be on the same page about your one unified brand identity. And you want to be careful about people working in silos and all having their own ideas about what your brand should be, because that’s kind of a recipe for disaster.
If you are ready in 2023, to future proof your business and build a sustainable brand that transcends fads in consumer behavior, then you can start today by building that unshakable emotional connection with your customers. Before we get into the Gold Mine, as well as my jewelry marketing news roundup, I want to share a case study of a jewelry brand that I think embodies some of the things that I just spoke about. So getting into a case study, these are my thoughts about how I’d apply the lesson I just shared to a jewelry brand in the wild. So disclaimer, this brand is not a current client. These are just my observations professionally and kind of bringing it all back to the topic. So Catbird is a jewelry brand I’ve mentioned a number of times on this podcast, but I just love them as an example of consistent brand identity and brand storytelling. If you don’t know this brand, they were founded in 2004 in Brooklyn. They work with some of the world’s most exciting designers, but they also design and manufacture their own house line of jewelry. It’s all made in their Brooklyn studio with ethically sourced gold, and all the stones are conflict free. So one of Catbird’s taglines is “jewelry as poetry”. They use it kind of inconsistently. I’ve seen it in some email campaigns. They include it in their packaging. They include it in some social media posts, but that tagline “jewelry as poetry” – it really rings true for me as a customer and stands out in my head probably more than a lot of other brand taglines. I think because it’s so Catbird.
And they do so many things in the details of their brand that connect with that tagline and are consistent with them. So I can really see how they strive to present their products almost as like an assortment of poems, so that the customer can enjoy the brand, not just on a visual level, like look at all these pretty things because as I mentioned before, that’s not effective, but also on an intellectual level. And it says so little and so much at the same time. Like I imagined the Catbird customer is someone who enjoys reading, enjoys literature, is a little bit romantic, loves metaphor, loves the language, is more like in in their head rather than like just impulsive. So it helps me really imagine the target customer and who they’re trying to reach with the way they portray themselves as the brand. So if I had to use a few adjectives to describe the Catbird brand based on the way they are communicating with me, I would describe them as intimate, ethereal, intellectual, playful, and thoughtful. And when I interact with the brand, I feel delighted and like I’m part of kind of like an inside joke between friends. On their website, they really go above and beyond to communicate the story behind the brand as well as the values, how they’re giving back to the community. And anything you could ever want to know is very clearly communicated and amplified through their email marketing, as well as their social media posts. And it also comes through with the in-store experience. As you can tell, probably I’ve been impressed with the Catbird brand for a while, but when I recently finally ordered something from them for the first time I really knew that this brand was a standout gem. So in addition to packaging the box with this beautiful whimsical paper, they had a care card, and some other materials like stickers and just fun add ins for the packaging. They also included this like folded-up, printed crossword puzzle that had been written by the founder. And they included a branded Catbird pen, so I could like fill out this crossword puzzle. And it wasn’t just any crossword puzzle. And this is why I love the whimsy and the like intellectual nature of this brand. It was this jewelry-themed New York crossword puzzle that had some like Catbird products, as some of the answers, it was really fun and creative had some cute illustrations on it. And for me, it capitalized on this literary intellectual nature of the brand. So it was this small detail that captured the spirit. And not only that, but it was an element of the brand that encouraged me as a customer to interact with it beyond just my jewelry purchase, beyond like taking it out of the box and putting it on which if it had stopped there would have kind of made the whole experience into a commodity in a way.
But instead this element of creativity and whimsy and a true, true understanding of what their brand is, and being completely not ashamed to share that, that made a lasting impression on me. I had also been subscribing to their email marketing from actually multiple emails. So I unsubscribed from one just to clear out one of my inboxes. And the little unsubscribe message said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, which is a poetic line from Shakespeare. And that made me smile because it’s the tiniest little detail that maybe some people wouldn’t even notice. It’s this generic unsubscribe landing page. But they were able to brand it and take the brand down to that kind of level of detail. It’s just so Catbird and for for people who get it, they get it. And that’s what I want for your brand. So what brand do you think is knocking it out of the park? Again, you can visit joyjoya.com/jump for more resources on this topic, as well as access to future resources that will be released every week.
So let’s get into the Gold Mine is a section of this podcast. So if you’ve been checking out this podcast for a while, you know I released the Gold Mine in August as like a separate bonus episode for the week. And now I’m rolling it into these episodes as a segment. This week’s topic is all about taking initiative in your jewelry business – and how you’re probably not giving yourself enough credit for doing so. So I have to admit that the idea for this Gold Mine is not completely original. I was listening to another podcast the other day called “Optimal Living Daily”, and they shared an article by blogger Eric Teplitz called “Making Yourself Proud, Happy, and Grateful.” In the article, Eric recommends we “Take a moment and reflect on some of the many positive things that never would have happened were it not for specific, intentional decisions you made, initiative you took, or opportunities you seized. You can ponder this in respect to the past week, month, year, or even the entirety of your life.” As an example, “You may have made a decision to quit a bad habit that had innumerable positive effects on yourself and your loved ones.” I was really inspired by his advice, so I decided to take some time earlier this week to journal my own examples, everything from 2022, especially related to my business. Some of these things included following up with people to gain new clients, creating new positions in my business and taking the chance to hire new employees, pivoting in new ways with my own brand storytelling, asking Liz Kantner to do another podcast with me (the Success With Jewelry Podcast), taking the time to meet people I wanted to meet at JCK, and much more! I’m sure I forgot many, many examples. At the end of this exercise, I felt encouraged by all the control and agency I do have in my life. I think especially now at this time in the US, when inflation and general doubts about the economy are affecting many business owners, it’s good to remind ourselves that we can make change and improve our lives as well as our business in small ways, even when external circumstances feel daunting and insurmountable. So I invite you to do this exercise and then make a list of the things you’ve love to initiate this year. How will you make that possible? What’s holding you back? What do you stand to lose? What do you stand to gain? Let me know in a YouTube comment or podcast review what you were able to initiate in 2022 that changed the course of your business for the better.
Alright, let’s talk about some news related to jewelry or marketing. And you can get these links in the show notes. So the first article comes from the blog of the jewelry company Shane Co, which is the largest privately owned jeweler in the United States. This blog post and marketing campaign announcement caught my eye, it’s called “Win $1,500 to Go on 15 First Dates”. I wanted to point it out, because I think it’s an example of a jewelry brand that’s amplifying their brand values in their brand storytelling through a unique fun, experimental kind of marketing campaign. So they’re gonna pay someone $1,500 to go on 15 First Dates. According to the press release, the selected winner would be required to find the dates via a dating app or another avenue and document their journey, then report back on their experience. And who knows maybe the winner will find their person throughout their journey and seal the deal with a Shane Co engagement ring. This is a company that’s clearly having fun with their marketing, and not being overly focused on promoting products but instead promoting their values and brand DNA. My main takeaway is this is a unique, engaging, playful, creative form of content marketing that will ultimately also result in user generated content that is not necessarily about product, but is in alignment with the company’s values of celebrating love through the gift of jewelry.
So the next article comes from Who What Wear, and it’s actually a podcast episode called “How Susan Korn of Susan Alexandra Built a Brand That Sparks Joy”. So I recently learned about this accessories brand called Susan Alexandra and learned about founder Susan Korn through an interview she did with the Second Life podcast. I thought it was super inspiring to learn about how Susan started her brand in 2011 and just six years later was launching a collection of colorful beaded handbags and jewelry with major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Why? Why is this interesting and relevant? Well, from the interview, you learn that she really wasn’t afraid to step into her quirkiness and playfulness as a designer, not just in her products, but also in the way she communicates her brand values and the emotional resonance of the brand. So if you want to be inspired by how one jewelry and accessories entrepreneur got in touch with her brand identity, wasn’t afraid to fully step into it, then I definitely recommend checking out this episode. My main takeaway is there are so many inspiring brands out there, even ones that are being run by solopreneurs and small teams with limited resources, so you can look within the industry or outside of the industry to get inspiration and find the confidence to really step into your own brand voice.
And then the last article comes from Entrepreneur.com. And it’s called “6 Mindsets Every Entrepreneur Must Adopt to Maximize the Power of Marketing Psychology”. I talk about mindset a lot on this podcast. So I really resonated with this new piece from entrepreneur by writer Jacinda Santora. These are the mindsets that all business owners need to adopt to be effective at marketing, empathetic, being able to put yourself in the customers shoes, storytelling, getting in the habit of telling stories, rather than just sharing information. Having curiosity, being authentic, being open to experimentation, and being mindful of other people’s experiences. Kind of goes along with being empathetic as well. My main takeaway is I agree that so much of being a successful marketer depends on having the right frame of mind. Personally, I think the ability to be empathetic, think outside of your own experience, and be curious and open are all extremely important traits to have.
What did you think about my discussion on branding? Do you have any thoughts about Jewelry Marketing Jumpstart or questions? You can always email me Laryssa that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. If you love this podcast, please share it with a friend who’d appreciate it. And don’t forget to subscribe as well as leave a review on Apple Podcasts. If you’re completely new to digital marketing, then you’ll want to purchase and read a copy of my book, Jewelry Marketing Joy, visit joyjoya.com/book for more information.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai