DesperadoAugust 01, 19
I've decided to keep the title of the Memo light-hearted this week. After all, it is summer in the western hemisphere where I live, and an Eagles song always does wonders for my mood.
On the western side of the world, the Diamond & Jewelry Way of New York is mostly back to work, while both Antwerp's diamond quarter in Belgium and the Israel Diamond Exchange complex are about to empty out, with most offices closing for the summer holidays in August. On the eastern side of the world, in India, preparations are being made for the annual International Indian Jewellery Show (IIJS) that opens on August 9 in the Bombay Exhibition Centre (Have you ever noticed, that politically correct westerners will say "Mumbai", while their Indian colleagues will always talk about Bombay? Go figure...).
Naturally, the IIJS show should be the place to take the current temperature of the diamond industry. But this will be a difficult task.
Who will be willing to talk, on the record and tell us the truth? Will any diamond manufacturers be ready to talk about the dire straits they are in as banks are pulling out of the trade, quoting misbehavior of some? Will the mess created in the melee market by the mixing of LGDs be addressed?
Looking at the topics of the show's seminar program [https://iijs.org/seminar_topic.php], it is not so much what there is on the program, but what there is not.
Of course, there are many seminars listed that are retail-business oriented and design oriented. For instance, the seminar "Young professionals reshaping Indian traditional jewelry business" looks promising. India, as a consumer market, is one of our industry's biggest hopes.
However, what I am missing is a discussion about how to regain the trust of the diamond consumer.
When, indeed, will the diamond industry come to its senses and admit that, in these days and times, without the trust of the consumer, and without the consumers' passion for diamonds, we'll keep losing market share?!
If we are so desperate to market diamonds and increase market share, why don't we ask the right questions?
Why aren't we reaching the consumer?
What are the main issues preventing us from doing so?
Are we telling the consumer the fascinating story about how diamonds reach them?
Can we back those stories up with truth?
Could it be that the whole direction of diamond promotion is still very much based on a "view from the west," instead of from "the bottom" of the market?
Could it be, that, during all these years, we have disregarded the potential that the diamond-producing countries offer us in telling the diamond story?
Could it be that all the pretty bland and predictable ideas about diamond promotion are devised somewhere on, say, the 32nd floor on Madison Avenue by well-dressed young men and women who have the proper degrees in marketing? Young people who have never been to an African diamond mine or have seen artisanal miners at their back-breaking work?
Could it be that none of us have ever thought to try and locate young, eager, 'hungry' marketing professionals in, say, Gaborone or Harare, to come up with diamond promotion campaigns?
Questions, questions, questions.
Stuff to think about while you're out there having fun in the sun.
I know I will.