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Articles from GEMSTONES - LOOSE (254 Articles), GEMSTONES - SYNTHETIC (54 Articles)










The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic cars in automotive history, recognised for its distinctive shape. | Source: Freepik
The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic cars in automotive history, recognised for its distinctive shape. | Source: Freepik

I wish we had more Beetles!

Can you name ‘the world’s favourite airline’? I am sure you can, British Airways, right? But did you also know that BA stopped using that marketing slogan 10 years ago?

There are two theories of how that slogan came about. The first is that someone stumbled across a statistic that showed BA flew more passengers than any other airline and the advertising guys developed the simple slogan ‘the world’s favourite airline’.

The other story is a survey found BA was the most disliked airline in the world so the marketing gurus simply reversed the outcome and built a slogan around it. They turned a negative outcome into a positive statement and, lo and behold, one of the world’s greatest marketing slogans was created!

I’m not sure if that story is true but I like it because it shows how simple it is to turn a negative into positive. Many in the jewellery industry could learn from that. Our industry needs more people who can turn lemons into lemonade rather than continually debating how sour lemons are!

In March 2003 I wrote about synthetic gemstones and whether the terms ‘created’ or ‘synthetic’ should be used. The debate has raged ever since. In a nutshell, gemmologists believe the word ‘synthetic’ should be used to describe a man-made gemstone. Jewellers prefer the term ‘created’ or ‘lab-grown’ mainly because they believe that calling something synthetic will reduce its attraction to consumers.

"It will only take one adventurous, but savvy, marketer to brag about the ‘synthetic’ objection and sales will rocket and then everyone will wonder what all the fuss and name-calling was about."

Two months ago at CIBJO’s annual congress the descriptors ‘laboratory-created’ and ‘laboratory-grown’ were approved. Some people wanted to use the term ‘cultured’, but CIBJO says that’s definitely a no-no, and can only be used in reference to pearls because they’re living organisms. (You can read more about gem misnomers on p42).

Many gemmologists, on the other hand, say that everything is created one way or another, so the terms are misleading; only ‘synthetic’ should be used. But who wants to wear a synthetic gem or diamond, jewellers ask?

Understand that this is all about marketing, not science! So the synthetic camp stopped using the term ‘natural’ diamond and began using ‘mined’ in an attempt to disparage the competitor with an implied ‘dirtiness’.

And for eight years the debate has raged as CIBJO has worked to provide definite descriptors for ‘natural’ (mined) and ‘synthetic’ (laboratory-made) stones. While it’s vital to have definitions, I wish it were all a waste of time. I wish there were a lot more Volkswagen Beetles in the jewellery industry!

WHAT?

You see, one of the best business lessons I ever learnt was how to deal with an objection; ‘Sales 101’ taught me there are two ways to handle an objection: ignore it or brag about it.

I’m a big fan of calling a spade a spade, and then bragging about it! For example, turning a negative into a positive has created some of the world’s greatest marketing campaigns. The VW Beetle wasn’t the most attractive car, was it? In fact it was small and ugly – so what did the marketers do? They called a spade a spade and bragged about the objection.

The early VW ad campaigns proudly announced: “It’s ugly but it gets you there”, “Why do they put such big wheels on our little car”, “Ugly is only skin deep” and my favourite, “It makes your house look bigger”!

There are plenty of other examples of bragging about the objection. Remember Avis? They knew they weren’t the market leader so they bragged about it: “Avis. We try harder!” Another? Well, Buckley’s has been producing cough mixture since 1920 and in the 1980s they told the world, “It tastes awful, and it works.”

You see, too often people see the lemon and not the lemonade. It will only take one adventurous, but savvy, marketer to brag about the ‘synthetic’ objection and sales will rocket and then everyone will wonder what all the fuss and name-calling was about.

Sales 101 also taught me to watch the bandwagon after that. It will get rather full!

 











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coleby Nicholson

Former Publisher • Jeweller Magazine


Coleby Nicholson launched Jeweller in 1996 and was also publisher and managing editor from 2006 to 2019. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than 20 years and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

SAMS Group Australia
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