There’s certainly something to be said of tradition and heritage, but when it erodes a brand’s relevance in the marketplace it’s time to switch things up. Jeweler Simon G. Jewelry’s aiming to do just that as the business shifts its marketing budget to new channels in a bid to rework market perception.
“Our brand has had a long-standing history and been at the forefront of the industry for many years, but as the industry continues to evolve, it became evident to us, our brand had a very strong awareness within the industry but the awareness that we had held for many years in the consumer’s mind-set was slipping a bit as we continued to advertise in more traditional formats,” the company’s VP of marketing and communications Brooke Brinkman said.
The efforts to recast how the company speaks to consumers has occurred across a five-year period with the company shifting anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of the marketing budget annually away from print and other forms of traditional advertising in favor of social, digital content and in-real-life events. Last year, 40 percent of that budget went to non-traditional forms of ad spend. This year, it’s close to 70 percent with the business this week launching its year-long “Committed” campaign.
“It was quite a shock for most of the people in our company and even some of our retail partners when we started sharing some of the things we were doing,” Brinkman said. “In our industry, people were very used to doing things a certain way.”
The campaign was spearheaded by creative director Amir Zia, who joined the business in December. Zia has worked with brands such as David Yurman, Stuart Weitzman and Ippolita when it featured Kendall Jenner in its ads.
“Committed” sets a new tone, Brinkman said. It’s taking less of the hard-line toward featuring product.
“I think not only Simon G., but our industry as a whole, has always been really product-focused and this new direction is all about an overall feeling,” Brinkman said. “The ads are communicating an emotion; it’s showing our commitment to equality and to unity.”
It won’t necessarily be an easy battle for Simon G. and other heritage brands, with the digital set or any business for that matter that’s positioned itself as a go-to for the Millennial and younger set. Part of the strategy there will focus on collaborations with influencers or designers, Brinkman said.
All of this is a shift that will prepare the business as it looks to make moves into the direct channel within the next three years, Brinkman said.
“It’s not that far off for Simon G. as a brand,” she said. “There’s a lot we look at — a lot of different acquisition opportunities that give us the ability to begin to strengthen our ability to navigate in spaces that we haven’t traditionally been in.”
By going the acquisition route, Brinkman said, the company is able to try new things via those brands or tap new customer bases first before doing so at the risk of confusing the existing customer base with its halo Simon G. brand.