De Beers Retires Its Name - For Now

July 17, 2000

De Beers Retires Its Name - For Now

At a press conference on July 13, De Beers said it will drop the De Beers name from its generic advertising, after several years of making it more prominent. The move is part of profound changes announced by the company, which will now use the name Diamond Trading Co. as its public name.

DTC is adopting the famous diamond slogan, "A diamond is forever" and has developed a new icon known as the ForeverMark. The icon's design is the shape of a natural diamond containing a star at its center. "This icon, combined with the DTC identity and slogan, will be the glue that binds the DTC and DTC sightholders," says Gary Ralfe, the company's managing director. More importantly, the DTC identity will be what end consumers see in the company's generic advertising. The program will be implemented January 2001.

The move to drop the De Beers name surprised many in the industry, given the obvious worldwide name recognition De Beers enjoys. But the name will remain as the corporate identity and more. Officials strongly suggest it will be used sometime in the future to brand an exclusive tier of top diamonds. They see it competing with a multitude of other brands. "This is an option that is being explored. It is another workstream, and we will know more about it towards the end of the year," says Ralfe.

The name change accompanied De Beers' expected announcement it has altered its relationship with its sightholders, to work harder at being their "supplier of choice." It will offer marketing advice and consumer research to its clients as a benefit of doing business with De Beers.

But the "choice" goes both ways. De Beers also announced strict rules of ethics it will hold sightholders to, as well as new business practice criteria put in place to help it choose market-savvy sightholders in the future. The ethical rules include strict prohibitions against doing business with countries that deal in conflict diamonds, as expected.

- by Robert Weldon, G.G.