Industry Group Aims to Make Diamonds a Millennial’s Best Friend

The Diamond Producers Association announced a new “Real Is Rare” campaign in hopes of earning the affection of millennial consumers who crave authentic connections, according to DPA research.

For all of their sparkle, diamonds have endured a lackluster decade—and millennials haven’t helped the situation. Last year, DeBeers, the world’s largest diamond producer, experienced a 34 percent decrease in total revenue. But with the announcement of a new “Real Is Rare” campaign, the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) is hoping the shine hasn’t completely worn off.

Why aren’t millennials in love with diamonds? Many came of age during a recession. And even if they could afford some bling, they might recall Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2006 film Blood Diamond and experience some existential qualms.

“I feel very weird about the concept of blood diamonds, and if I were to ever get a stone I would prefer it to be ‘ethically procured’ if there even really is such a thing,” said Hope Rehak, a 26-year-old Northwestern graduate student interviewed by the Daily Beast.

Fashion trends have played a role as well. To mark their 2010 engagement, Prince William gave Kate Middleton his late mother’s sapphire ring. Even though the 12-carat sapphire is encircled by diamonds, the engagement band is a departure from the more traditional all-diamond alternative. And as you might expect, prospective brides everywhere started hinting at sapphires. In fact, in 2011, Forbes reported a 300 percent increase in sapphire sales.

Pam Danziger, author of the study Marketing to Millennials: How to Sell Luxury Jewelry to the Next Generation of Affluents, remarked on Unity Marketing Online that the marketing message toward millennials with money has to change. “Millennials just aren’t buying the traditional jewelry marketing paradigm that worked for previous generations,” she wrote.

DPA realized this too. And it set to work researching the millennial generation and new ways to market to them.

The research revealed that millennials want meaningful, authentic connections, even while they struggle to make them. “The opportunity exists for diamonds to represent the rare, precious, and real connections that millennials crave. ‘Real is Rare’ redefines diamonds for the 21st century, giving them new meaning as a symbol to celebrate the real connections we choose to make,” according to a DPA press release.

DPA unveiled the new campaign last week at JCK Las Vegas, a major jewelry industry event, and plans to officially launch it in September, with the help of its industry partner, Mother New York. DPA said it would concentrate on communicating through the digital and social media channels that millennials are already using in an effort to meet these consumers where they are.

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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