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    Branded gold & diamond jewellery attracting Indian buyers

    Synopsis

    The shift being witnessed from West to East across brands is extending itself to jewellery. Branded jewellery is an attempt to woo a gold obsessed nation.

    Branded jewellery is an attempt to woo a gold obsessed nation with fresh designs and easy availability, a la an FMCG product. But as of today, diamonds stand a better chance of finding fastmoving consumers than gold does
    First the good news: India consumed 125 tonnes of gold in pure jewellery form in the April to June quarter of 2012. “That will be more than what the entire US market will consume this year,” reckons David Lamb, managing director, jewellery, World Gold Council (WGC), an association of the world’s leading gold mining companies.

    That, in an increasingly brand-obsessed market like India, would spell a huge opportunity for organised players. Except for one hurdle: a yet-to-be-released study by WGC — which recently launched a wedding jewellery collection called Azva — reveals that over 80 per cent of the 13,000 Indian women surveyed look at gold as a financial investment. Many of the women also pointed to the spiritual significance of the metal. Traditionally, Indians are comfortable buying their gold jewellery from family-owned brands that have been around for generations.

    The upshot: how do you sell a brand of jewellery in such a market where rationalism prevails by a long way over aspiration and impulse? And in a market flooded with brands, how do you differentiate your product from the rest of the clutter? After all, as Kiran Dixit, group head for advertising & marketing at TBZ - The Original, points out: “Jewellers who are active on the marketing front have hardly done any differentiation.

    If you hide the logo of any jewellery ad, it’s very difficult to identify which jeweller’s advertisement you are looking at.” If brands — both gold and diamond — feel they have a chance, it’s with good reason. GenY is looking for contemporary designs, convenience and an enjoyable shopping experience.

    The Gitanjali group, which has some 20 gold and diamond brands in its portfolio, is boldly going forward with an FMCG mindset. The group works with 70 designers, is constantly introducing new designs and its brands are present at 3,000 of an estimated 500,000 jewellers in the country.

    Says Abhishek Gupta, head of strategy & investor relations at the Gitanjali group: “We have learnt distribution techniques from the FMCG sector. We have national, regional and area level distributors.”

    WGC’s Lamb reckons that the shift being witnessed from the West to the East across a spectrum of global brands is extending itself to jewellery. “We are seeing a dynamic shift in the consumption of gold jewellery from the mature markets; the balance of power is shifting to India and China.”

    WGC’s wedding jewellery collection Azva is targeted at modern Indian couples in the 23 to 30 age group. Lamb is particularly excited about the marketing strategy for Azva, which has BBH working on its communication, Landor on the brand identity, Maxus doing its media strategy and design consultancy Fitch taking care of the retail look.

     

    “We are going to articulate the promises of Azva in all conventional media, particularly in print, but we will also have a strong digital component where we will invite people to explore the brand’s promises,” explains Lamb, a former worldwide head of account planning at JWT where he spent over two decades.

    The reasons for building a brand in the jewellery market are quite similar to those in any other category. Shaziya Khan, executive planning director & VP, JWT says: “Brand building helps a product carve its niche and demand a premium in the market.” Local jewellers expanding nationally have also led to an increase to marketing spends in the industry, she adds.

    On the flip side, Dixit of TBZ-The Original says: “Everyone in the market wants to attract more and more customers and enjoy maximum market share. This has resulted in intensive price wars in terms of giving discounts on making charges or selling at cutthroat prices.”

    Marketing, though, has also led to more awareness about purity of the metal, the importance of hallmarking and guarantee of quality among others in consumers. “That’s what brands do: they go beyond the technical satisfactions of a product and make larger promises,” says Lamb.

    Gitanjali has different promises for different segments of the population. In the diamonds space, for instance, Nakshatra has premium imagery because of its signature seven-cluster design while Asmi is for working women.

    Tanishq, a division of Titan Industries, is another brand that is working hard to push diamonds into the everyday mind space of consumers by launching ‘affordable’ diamonds.

    To be sure, diamonds stand a better chance of making it as a lifestyle product, which explains why such outlets are conspicuous in malls and high-streets. Can gold go down the same road? Perhaps, if more people believe what Lamb does.

    “Spending your money on jewellery is so much cleverer than clothing that you will throw away or get bored of.” Most Indian brides already know that. The challenge is to convince them to pick up the branded stuff rather than ounces of it from their family-friendly neighbourhood store.
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    4 Comments on this Story

    kk3010 days ago
    So true I completely agree with the article.. As I see every one wants gold or silver with brand with hallmark approved... It's most safest way of investing...
    kk3010 days ago
    So true I completely agree with the article.. As I see every one wants gold or silver with brand with hallmark approved... It's most safest way of investing...
    kk3010 days ago
    So true I completely agree with the article.. As I see every one wants gold or silver with brand with hallmark approved... It's most safest way of investing...
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