How De Beers Made Diamonds Forever

brand-as-business bit:  How do you create desire?  Diamond brand De Beers and Frances Gerety, the copywriter behind the company’s tagline, “A Diamond Is Forever” showed us how.  A recent terrific piece in the NYT outlined their approach:

  • appeal to emotions:

“Sentiment is essential to your advertising, as it is to your product,” Gerety’s agency N.W. Ayer wrote to De Beers, “for the emotional connotation of the diamond is the one competitive advantage which no other product can claim or dispute.”

  •  reframe the competition:

They needed to convince people that their smaller sized diamonds were just as desirable as bigger ones.  So the ads included a box labeled “How to Buy a Diamond” which instructed customers to “Ask about color, clarity, and cutting — for these determine a diamond’s quality, contribute to its beauty and value. Choose a fine stone, and you’ll always be proud of it, no matter what its size.” (The final “c” stood for carats.)

  • anchor your price:

With the line “Isn’t two months’ salary a small price to pay for something that lasts forever?” De Beers set a reference point by which customers could think about the price of its product in a way that increased its perceived value.



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