Leading Jewelers of the World, Phase 2
W.B. David's diamond marketing program has evolved
The year-old Leading Jewelers of the World program is fine-tuning its approach based on jeweler feedback, says Jack Gredinger, the new full-time executive director. The program, now located in the W.B. David offices in New York City, has a new logo, a reduced financial commitment to make it easier for jewelers to join and a new approach to advertising and marketing.
The programs emphasis on helping jewelers promote their own store names stays the same, but customer service training has been enhanced under the new leadership.
Gredinger wants Leading Jewelers of the World to be a true association of jewelers, accountable to members, complete with an advisory board and specific benefits.
Gredinger, formerly president of the Independent Jewelers Organization, wants to sign up 75 members this year and grow to a cap of 300 by the end of 2004. Members are top-quality jewelers who have exclusive markets in which to use and promote the Leading Jewelers of the World logo and association. They will have to meet certain requirements to become members and then have store audits twice yearly to keep membership exclusive and consistent.
Each new member will receive assistance for a grand opening, plus marketing and media buying expertise. Susan Lebo, a former promotion executive for the Diamond Promotion Service, was hired as director of marketing.
Along with enhanced diamond-sales and customer-care training, the association guarantees its members consistency of diamond supply, access to finer makes and larger sizes, and competitive market prices through its association with its parent company, W.B. David, a client of the Diamond Trading Co.
The Leading Jewelers of the World trademark has been redesigned to be more of a trustmark than a simple logo, says Gredinger. It will be used in the associations endorsement materials, including a membership plaque, window and door decals, and other signs.
Establishing the trustmark and conveying what it means will be accomplished through local marketing rather than national advertising, as originally planned. The association learned the grassroots approach would be more effective during its pilot program, which was rolled out at several stores in fall 2001.
The Leading Jeweler of the World concept will be introduced in each market with TV and radio commercials, billboards, newspaper ads and a Web site.
The Price of Entry
The membership price has stayed the same for jewelers entering the program: $3,500 per year. But diamond purchase commitments to which jewelers must agree have been reduced to $150,000 the first year, $200,000 the second year and $250,000 the third year. These purchase commitments can be met by memo goods or call merchandise, as well as through up-front purchases.
The associations plan for a holiday jewelry collection has been put on hold until the trustmark has been firmly established. The second tier of the Leading Jewelers Program, called Preferred American Jewelers, has been discontinued.
Leading Jewelers also is asking members to commit to $20,000 in advertising the Leading Jewelers of the World program if they join this year.
by Peggy Jo Donahue