The Diamond Producers Association is no more.
The DPA is re-branding, pivoting to a new consumer-facing identity and a new name: Natural Diamond Council.
The organization was founded with some of the world’s leading diamond producers including Alrosa, De Beers, Dominion Diamonds, Lucara Diamond, Petra Diamonds, Murowa Diamonds and Rio Tinto.
“The mission of the DPA has always been to build the reputation and protect the integrity of natural diamonds to a consumer audience,” said David Kellie, who recently came from the Watches of Switzerland Group to be chief executive officer of the NDC. “The pivot is in the way that we do this. Beyond being an advertiser, we need to build ourselves as an authority. And being brand, retailer and publisher agnostic, we’re perfectly placed to build a strong reputation as the destination for information and inspiration on the world of natural diamonds and diamond jewelry.”
Kellie said the pivot also brings them a new audience, which he reported is younger than the current typical consumer of diamond jewelry. “Our audience values products that have timelessness about them. They’re seeking products through which they can express their own individuality and they’re seeking products that celebrate connections between people,” the ceo explained, adding that that value system is extremely relevant in the era of the coronavirus. “We believe that these values will emerge even stronger after the pandemic and natural diamonds perfectly reflect these values.”
Under the DPA moniker the “Real Is Rare, Real Is a Diamond” ad campaign was launched to help start a narrative with the Millennial consumer — the type of customers who put high value on the origin of the products they buy. According to the organization, its aim was to speak to these younger customers and illustrate that diamonds are the best expression of authentic love and commitment. Since then the industry has seen the introduction of lab-created gem stones, which has made the category even more competitive.
Now, as the NDC bows, the previous campaign is being repositioned to a new platform: “Only Natural Diamonds,” which Kellie says will continue to focus on the uniqueness of natural diamonds — not only of the stones themselves but also the meaning that each person attaches to each stone.
“There’s no other product that creates and retains such a strong sentiment in the mind of consumers and the new messaging reflects consumer’s aspirations for products that represent something more than being just a physical object,” Kellie explained of the new campaign. ”Such products will be even more sought after coming out of the current crisis.
The ad portion of “Only Natural Diamonds” will fully roll out in the fall, with a presence across almost all platforms, said Kristina Buckley Kayel, the NDC’s managing director, North America.
“Digital, particularly social media, will play a much larger part than for previous campaigns as this is where the audience spends most time and can be more fully engaged,” Kayel explained. “But print and TV still give impact and authority so will be part of the mix.”
“Our mission is to build upon the desirability of natural diamonds,” Kellie said when asked how the consumer-facing identity shifts the organization’s mission. “We see the opportunity to be speaking directly to consumers as well as through retail partners. Above all, we see the opportunity to speak in a way that is different to that which is more typically associated with our industry. The world of luxury has changed.”
The NDC’s new web site launches June 1, showcasing its new identity, serving as both a digital platform and resource. The NDC said the goal is for the site to function as a hub to provide access to a range of industry resources, customizable marketing materials, e-learning programs and current industry news.
The site incorporates new editorialized content with articles from industry veterans such as Jill Newman, Marion Fasel and Carol Woolton. The coverage sits under six key pillars: “Epic Diamonds”; “Hollywood & Pop culture”; “Love & Diamonds”; “Style & Innovation”; “Diamonds 101,” and “Inside the Diamond World.”
The platform also has an education component that provides “a resource for diamond professionals to register for engaging e-learning modules ranging from ‘Diamonds 101’ to ‘Selling to the Self-Purchaser’ and learning about the industry’s sustainability activities and commitments,” Kayel noted. “The format offers flexibility so that a retailer, corporation or individual can deploy and track the progress according to their needs.”
Alongside its debut, the NDC is launching the “Style Collective: Trend Report” a compilation forecasting diamond jewelry trends from industry veterans. “For this first trend report, we brought together a selection of editors, jewelry influencers and celebrity stylists and we’re now sharing it with retailers.” Kayel explained of the biannual trend report, which will serve as a guide for retailers for the upcoming season and a reference for consumer publications that are incorporating styling tips.
The first report was developed with editor at large Newman, who penned it; Katerina Perez, curator of Best Jewels; celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich; jewelry director at Moda Operandi, Will Kahn, and British Vogue’s jewelry and watch director Rachel Garrahan.
“Clearly, the season ahead isn’t going to be a typical season, but we still see the report as an opportunity for the industry to rally together to raise the profile of the industry,” Kayel said.
The NDC launch comes at a time unlike any other, as globally economies are restarting, consumers are emerging from quarantines with a lot of uncertainty and retailers that have weathered the last few months begin to chart new ways to engage with in-person commerce.
“As someone who has come from outside the industry, my advice is communication.” Kellie said when asked how the diamond supply chain can weather the global pandemic “Each part of the supply chain needs to be working at the same pace as the others and therefore sharing and engaging in each other’s challenges will bring a more positive response. The industry is greater than the sum of its parts.”