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Articles from FASHION JEWELLERY (266 Articles)











More than a pretty face

Brand ambassadors were once chosen for their beauty and popularity but Tennille Secomb discovers that no longer cuts it with today’s consumers. Technology has paved the way for a new kind of flag-bearer altogether.
Jan Logan
Jan Logan
Uberkate
Uberkate
Swarovski
Swarovski
Miranda Kerr for Swarovski
Miranda Kerr for Swarovski
Alice Englert for Jan Logan
Alice Englert for Jan Logan
Isabel Lucas for Linneys
Isabel Lucas for Linneys

Television personality Ellen DeGeneres caused marketing mayhem at the Oscars in March this year when she used a new model mobile phone to take a “selfie” as part of a paid endorsement reported to have cost the event sponsor some US$20 million (AU$21 m).

The photo featuring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto and DeGeneres herself quickly became the most re-tweeted image in social media history.

Presumably Samsung executives rejoiced, at least until DeGeneres was later seen using an Apple iPhone backstage. This branding fiasco is indicative of how the role of the brand ambassador has evolved in the current climate of digital pervasion.

The concept of a brand ambassador, capitalising on celebrity status to endorse a product, has been successfully employed for more than a century. Within the adornment sector, watch brands have typically been quicker to adopt celebrity ambassadors but the jewellery industry has taken note and more brands are now adopting the strategy than ever before. 

Today, the exposing omnipresence of social media means brands must now ensure there is total synthesis between their values and the ambassador they choose to represent them – basically, it’s of paramount importance that any link between a brand and a celebrity is believable. 

“If somebody is seen to just be doing something for money without having a true love of the product then social media can expose that,” TANK Branding managing director Neil Shewan says. 

A brand ambassador’s influence on sales can be huge so brands must take the time to ensure they find the right candidates.



“As people learn more about how marketing works, the selection you are making becomes more important because it requires the truth and transparency of the endorsement. If somebody wears a certain type of jewellery as their everyday jewellery and something else in an ambassador’s role, they can’t get away with that like you could 20 years ago before the internet,” Shewan explains.

There’s always been a certain level of trust at the core of any brand and ambassador agreement. These days, however, there are more opportunities for ambassadors to be “caught out” if they don’t deliver on their agreements – think of Tiger Woods and Lindsay Lohan as examples of celebrities whose public behaviour cost them lucrative ambassador deals. By choosing someone who truly aligns with a brand’s image, the ambassador is less likely to slip up and cause embarrassment for all parties. 

New strategies at play
Interestingly, social media has forged a space for a new type of ambassador, one who is arguably more powerful than celebrities without even being paid. 

“People have very strong relationships with bloggers; they trust their opinion,” Shewan says. “That’s where you get genuine passion and referral endorsement. If you can get that without paying for it then that’s gold.” 

Nigel Patient, managing director and brand strategist at brand and marketing firm HeadMark, agrees, suggesting that brands might even get more value by leveraging online opinions in arenas like Facebook and Instagram than in hiring celebrities. 

“More brands are finding success with bloggers [rather than celebrities] because it’s genuine opinion rather than paid opinion,” Patient says. “There’s more peer endorsement happening now; shoppers are turning to what other people are saying and are connected [via Facebook] with people they obviously trust so they trust the endorsement. This kind of referral works really well for brands.” 

Angus Logan, managing director for Australian jewellery business Jan Logan, agrees that endorsement tactics are changing, presenting opportunities in new digital spaces. 

“Each customer is a brand ambassador endorsing your product every time they choose to purchase it over another,” Logan explains. “We have built our business on relationships and service, and if social media is providing a platform for anyone to share their experience then it is not dissimilar to traditional customer testimonial on a much larger stage.”

Jan Logan’s collaborations with promising Australian actresses over the past 14 years – from internationally-acclaimed actress Rose Byrne to Beautiful Creatures star Alice Englert – perfectly match the company’s long association with Australian film, both in costume design and as a sponsor of the Australian film industry AACTA awards.  

Demonstrating the way in which employing a brand ambassador can be beneficial for all parties, the annual Jan Logan new collection campaign has become a barometer for upcoming acting talent. According to Logan, ambassadors are chosen upon criteria designed to reflect the essence of the “Jan Logan woman”. 

“It’s a combination of factors – talent, enthusiasm and passion for their craft, as well as a natural ease and confidence,” Logan explains. “Our Jan Logan ‘face’ becomes part of our brand story and family; in turn, we, become part of their journey.” 



High-end Western Australian retailer Linneys has also been working with Australian movie and television identities to appeal to both existing and new customers. Since 2007, the jeweller has been represented by Melissa George, Ernie Dingo, Jessica Marais, Jason Dundas and, most recently, Isabel Lucas. 

“Our approach to selecting a brand ambassador is very considered,” Linneys CEO David Fardon explains. “What has worked well for us is appointing someone who has a genuine connection and affinity with our brand. Every brand ambassador has provided Linneys with a platform to launch new collections and inspire our customer base. Obviously, the ambassadors have helped our marketing programs and have assisted in the generation of significant PR and media interest in our company and our jewellery collections.” 

Both Linneys and Jan Logan have found success by regularly updating their ambassadors to maintain brand relevance and fresh appeal with consumers. Another brand to make a recent change is Swarovski, which appointed Australian model Miranda Kerr as its new ambassador in October 2013. 

“Miranda is a personification of the brand’s values,” Swarovski’s creative director Nathalie Colin says. “She is the perfect illustration of the multifaceted women that Swarovski is talking to: mum, muse, top model, businesswoman, and woman.”

To bolster the appearance of authenticity and reinforce Kerr as the epitome of Swarovski’s values, the model has represented the brand across multiple seasons including spring/summer 2014, fall/winter 2014 and the coming spring/summer 2015 campaign. Colin says having Kerr as a brand ambassador has helped to raise public awareness of the brand, gain more international visibility and increase brand desirability. 

Swarovski has also embraced non-traditional forms of endorsement, teaming up with a number of bloggers, including Australian fashion blogger Margaret Zhang, to take over the brand’s global Instagram account. 

Perfect match
Whether celebrities or bloggers, the overarching factor remains that any brand ambassador is symbolic of the brand.
High-profile German jewellery brand Thomas Sabo is testament to this and chief brand officer John Schlueter says the general approach is to ensure any collaboration fits the brand. 

“It all comes down to the embodiment of brand values, the love for our products and authenticity in representation,” Schlueter explains. “An international brand ambassador is a signed testimonial lending his/her face to our advertising campaigns and the selected person needs to live the spirit of the brand. Only in this case can a person represent the brand in an authentic way.”

Model Georgia May Jagger, violinist David Garrett and Formula One driver Nico Rosberg are current faces of Thomas Sabo yet Schlueter says Thomas Sabo doesn’t only use celebrities to promote the brand. 

“The relevance of social media in general, and bloggers specifically, has increased enormously,” he says. “Online or virtual world influencers today are trusted messengers in C2C [consumer-to-consumer] communication – going both ways. Thus, a respectable and authentic approach to these influencers and unique, tailor-made collaboration concepts mark the way forward.”

According to Schlueter, collaborations with social media figures or online “celebrities” are the same as traditional celebrity partnerships – the approach must be individualised. 



“We try to realise social media engagement in a market-specific approach, taking into account the relevant local conditions. The benefits clearly are the reach, the multitude, the quickness and the direct interaction with fans of the brand. Social media is a very valuable means of directly engaging with our customers, thereby receiving customer’s immediate feedback,” he says.

All hands on deck
One other major change to the role of the brand ambassador is an increased need to have the ambassador contribute to the product. Citing examples like celebrity chef Pete Evans for Sumo Salad and fashion designer Alex Perry for Specsavers, Patient says it’s not uncommon to see ambassadors taking a hands-on role in the creation of the items they are representing. 

“It’s more believable,” Patient explains. “Rather than just being part of the product, the product is actually designed by them.” 

While it has become commonplace for high-profile celebrities to design their own fashion, perfume, cosmetic or lifestyle ranges, an interesting development in brand endorsement has been the increase in the number of bloggers and social media luminaries to have been invited on board for collaborations. 

FashionToast blogger Rumi Neely collaborated with American fashion jewellery brand Dannijo in 2010 on a six-piece range of jewellery; The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine has designed everything from footwear for Six Shoes to jewellery for Dannijo plus multiple clothing ranges; The Sartorialist blogger and established street photographer Scott Schuman has shot campaigns with Tiffany & Co and Saks Fifth Avenue; and London-based jeweller Tateossian chose five British menswear bloggers to design limited edition bracelets that launched at the 2014 London men’s fashion week.

Overall, what has made these collaborations successful is the “hands on” approach of the ambassador who, through the power of social media, provides a more personal touch point for customers. Examples like these are on the rise as the jewellery industry aims to keep pace with current marketing techniques. 

Most recently in Australia, Sydney-based jewellery supplier Uberkate conducted a nationwide social media search for its “Uber Ambassador”. According to founder Kate Sutton, NSW winner Gaby Hunter is the key point of contact for retailers, performing both traditional sales tasks as well as promoting the brand on the ground and via social media.

“Retailers will have more face-to-face time learning about new products and going deeper into our existing product lines,” Sutton explains. “The brand ambassador will be on the road showcasing the existing Uberkate range, promoting new designs, liaising directly with retail stockists and customers, and sharing their experiences via our social media channels.” 



Sutton says putting a face to the brand is particularly important in regional areas where there is a lack of retail presence and she touts the group’s social media fan base of some 200,000 fans as a crucial channel of engagement. 

“[Social media] broadens our ability to communicate with more people – it’s fabulous in breaking down communication barriers. More people can be included in a brand’s communication strategies either as a direct consumer or by just observing,” Sutton says. 

Uberkate’s search to fill the position centred on candidates who were already brand devotees, reflecting the shifting parameters of the traditional brand ambassador whereby branding techniques are implemented that privilege ‘the real woman’ in order to manifest ambassador believability. 

Commenting on her role, Hunter says, “The biggest difference is that I am not a celebrity hired by a brand to make people want to buy [a product]. I am a consumer who loves the jewellery and can teach and inspire our retailers at their level.”

It’s no surprise that the role of the ambassador is changing to keep up with the emergence of new marketing channels and ever-evolving technologies. Social media has obviously become the dominant channel between brands and their consumers, allowing ambassadors to connect with entire armies of brand devotees while also ensuring brand ambassadors remain aligned with the brand’s values. 

The power of the platform means businesses can achieve a wider public reach than ever before while selecting ambassadors such as bloggers who aren’t necessarily even celebrities but who are valued for their opinions nonetheless. 
Where values of appearance, beauty and status once took centre stage, modern-day brand ambassadors are now defined by their ability to communicate brand messages to consumers in ways that are believable, trustworthy, authentic and accessible.

Thomas Sabo
Thomas Sabo

Television personality Ellen DeGeneres caused marketing mayhem at the Oscars in March this year when she used a new model mobile phone to take a “selfie” as part of a paid endorsement reported to have cost the event sponsor some US$20 million (AU$21 m).

The photo featuring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto and DeGeneres herself quickly became the most re-tweeted image in social media history.

Presumably Samsung executives rejoiced, at least until DeGeneres was later seen using an Apple iPhone backstage. This branding fiasco is indicative of how the role of the brand ambassador has evolved in the current climate of digital pervasion.

The concept of a brand ambassador, capitalising on celebrity status to endorse a product, has been successfully employed for more than a century. Within the adornment sector, watch brands have typically been quicker to adopt celebrity ambassadors but the jewellery industry has taken note and more brands are now adopting the strategy than ever before. 

Today, the exposing omnipresence of social media means brands must now ensure there is total synthesis between their values and the ambassador they choose to represent them – basically, it’s of paramount importance that any link between a brand and a celebrity is believable. 

“If somebody is seen to just be doing something for money without having a true love of the product then social media can expose that,” TANK Brandin











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Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 07:21pm
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