June 1, 2001
W.B. David Introduces
Leading Jewelers of the World™
W.B. David, New York City, introduced its new diamond marketing program to an exclusive group of high-level jewelers last night in Las Vegas, just prior to the opening of The JCK Show. With the help and guidance of the Diamond Trading Co., of which W.B. David is a sightholder, the diamond company asked the invited retailers to apply to join a network called Leading Jewelers of the World™. A second tier of jewelers can also apply to join a network called Preferred American Jewelers™.
The Leading Jewelers of the World network will ultimately include only 100 jewelers who must meet strict standards of excellence, especially in customer service. They must also invest either 7.5% of annual sales to marketing/advertising (60% of which must be diamond-related) or invest 6% of annual diamond sales to marketing/advertising of diamond jewelry. This requirement relates clearly to the industry-wide goal set by De Beers' DTC to increase diamond advertising to levels nearer the 10% spent by other luxury categories.
A part of each Leading Jeweler's ad budget must contribute to national advertising managed by the new network, along with financial participation by W.B. David and other jewelry manufacturers. The national ads will also promote a diamond jewelry line called LTD, an annual limited-edition holiday collection designed by "world-renowned" jewelry designers, says the company. Research conducted by the new network shows wealthy people want objects and experiences that are not commonly available and this collection is planned to fulfill that desire.
Members of Leading Jewelers of the World must make an annual commitment to purchase $300,000 of diamonds from W.B. David or its divisions and participate in its holiday collection with a purchase of $100,000.
The Preferred American Jewelers network also includes requirements such as those listed above, but at lower levels. That network is planned to ultimately include only 500 members.
After a pilot program this year, W.B. David plans to roll out a full program in 2002, with a $21 million marketing budget. That budget will more than double by 2004, the company says. An exclusive "mark" and other collateral materials will be available to all participating jewelers.
Jewelers attending the event told Professional Jeweler they are intrigued but a little scared by the plan. They uniformly love the designation of Leading Jewelers, but some question whether other such networks might spring up and make this "exclusive group" just one of many. Others say they feel nervous about committing such large portions of their ad budgets to one program and so much of their diamond inventories to one company at a time
when larger, finer quality diamonds are often hard to find from a single source. Some jewelers say their own brand names don't need the caché of this added designation, while others say it will enhance their status in their market areas.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue