Brand­ing Mantras: Colour Con­nec­tiv­ity

Solitaire - - CONTENTS - By Dan Scott, Brand Ar­chi­tect

Colour has al­ways de­liv­ered a highly charged emo­tional con­nec­tion within jew­ellery, steeped in tra­di­tion and in leg­end. His­tor­i­cally, the first doc­u­mented jew­ellery known to man em­braced colour. Ev­i­dence of such is a 16-amulet neck­lace in bright faience blue, found in an­cient Egyp­tian arte­facts. From ions ago to to­day, colour has been a jew­ellery mo­ti­va­tor from its de­sign to the de­sire to own it.

While we all know about the Tif­fany blue box, were you aware of how Tif­fany lever­ages their colour as­set be­yond the box?”

ur brains are wired to as­so­ciate the sen­sa­tions that colour of­fers. While colour and fine jew­ellery go hand-in-hand in ob­vi­ous ways, the notso-ob­vi­ous use of it as­so­ci­ated with and placed within spe­cific jew­ellery height­ens a colour’s con­nec­tiv­ity. In their brand­ing and mar­ket­ing ef­forts, some de­sign­ers have lever­aged this as­set in highly ef­fec­tive ways. Per­haps the most recog­nised and iden­ti­fi­able ex­am­ple is Tif­fany.

While re­cent na­tional (US) news has been quick to out­line a 4% sales drop in Tif­fany’s 2016 hol­i­day sales and a 3% world­wide sales de­cline as of May 2017, they are too quick to al­lege a brand­ing dis­con­nect from its core lux­ury base. Since it has in­cluded in­tro­duc­tory priced items, Tif­fany’s blue box brand has cer­tainly had its chal­lenges, yet there have been no pub­lished stud­ies that de­fend any­thing but the fact the Tif­fany’s trade­marked blue is an im­me­di­ate, glob­ally recog­nised colour that in­stantly con­nects any­one with the Tif­fany lux­ury brand.

In fact, a re­cent Whar­ton study on the topic speaks to the lift in aware­ness and younger as­pi­ra­tion to the brand. This is also seen in Tif­fany’s Fall 2017 cam­paign fea­tur­ing Lady Gaga and other Mil­len­ni­al­fo­cused celebri­ties, al­ways dis­play­ing the Pan­tone, PMS num­ber 1837, or the col­lo­quial name “Tif­fany Blue,” dat­ing back to 1837, the year of its colour trade­mark.

While we all know about the Tif­fany blue box, were you aware of how Tif­fany lever­ages their colour as­set be­yond the box? A lesser known ex­am­ple is the

Tif­fany Blue Book, first pub­lished in 1845 and pub­lished an­nu­ally since. The Blue Book is the apogee of the brand’s cre­ative achieve­ment, where beau­ti­ful ge­o­log­i­cal spec­i­mens shine. Since Francesca Am­fithe­atrof joined Tif­fany in 2013 (the house’s first fe­male de­sign di­rec­tor) the Blue Book has also be­come a nar­ra­tive in high jew­ellery’s re­la­tion­ship to fine art. “Blue Book re­ally is some­thing that is borne from within us. We cre­ate some­thing that’s go­ing to be­come an heir­loom. Th­ese are go­ing to be­come trea­sures,” Am­fithe­atrof notes. (She has since left Tif­fany.)

The day af­ter the Blue Book is re­vealed, Tif­fany’s pri­vate ap­point­ment room is al­ways booked with clients vy­ing for cov­eted pieces. Stylists and celebri­ties

Yet, it is the shrewd and per­haps most in­no­va­tive who use colour as a di­rect as­so­ci­a­tion with their jew­ellery de­signs that of­fer a new form of con­sumer touch-point.”

al­ways re­serve the cre­ations from the book to wear at red car­pet events. For a se­lect group, that evening is an in­vi­ta­tion to

Tif­fany’s Blue Book Ball. Held at New York’s Cu­nard Build­ing, celebri­ties such as Reese Wither­spoon have been seen wear­ing a $10 mil­lion di­a­mond neck­lace from the col­lec­tion, while Diane Kruger and Jes­sica Biel adorn Tif­fany cre­ations, which fall in the $15 mil­lion to $20 mil­lion spec­trum. Tif­fany pro­motes this event to the pub­lic by dis­play­ing an enormous blue box and repli­cates the look dur­ing the win­ter hol­i­day sea­son in Man­hat­tan.

Hav­ing served as CMO for jew­ellery re­tailer Scott Kay for a decade, Scott and I would of­ten strate­gise over the use of pur­ple in his pack­ag­ing. A deep ma­jes­tic pur­ple con­nect­ing one with all things re­gal and rich was the goal. “It must be a dark pur­ple, like the Vik­ings foot­ball team…” Scott Kay would say. Af­ter years of fil­ings, the Patent and Trade­mark Of­fice awarded the Scott Kay cor­po­ra­tion with the trade­mark for us­ing pur­ple in all fine jew­ellery pack­ing. Sadly, that oc­curred around the time of his pass­ing and hasn’t been lever­aged since. Scott Kay knew that the use of the right colour in the right way backed by con­sis­tent mar­ket­ing would pro­duce an emo­tional con­nec­tion to his styles. The Scott Kay Pur­ple Sig­na­ture Col­lec­tion was a nod in that di­rec­tion as cre­ated ex­clu­sively for Jared years ago.

Yet, it is the shrewd and per­haps most in­no­va­tive who use colour as a di­rect as­so­ci­a­tion with their jew­ellery de­signs that of­fer a new form of con­sumer touch-point.

Of­ten ex­e­cuted as a sub­tle en­hance­ment and some­times “hid­den” within the jew­ellery, coloured gem­stones are used to ro­mance the de­sign in a spe­cial way. Th­ese gems touch the skin of the wearer and of­fer a branded link to the de­signer’s DNA and brand mes­sage. The use of coloured gem­stones within jew­ellery also of­fers sto­ry­telling that en­gages con­sumers of all ages.

While it is rare to find, there are fine jew­ellery brands that have added an el­e­ment to their brand story through coloured gem­stone in­clu­sions.

Red quick­ens the pulse

Roberto Coin has a sig­na­ture gem­stone, the ruby, set next to his laser in­scribed ini­tials. Why the ruby, and why is the stone set on the in­side of the piece rather than on the out­side? While the Roberto Coin brand was launched in 1977, it was only in 1996 that his de­signs, while di­verse, were each branded by a red ruby. In­spired by an an­cient Egyp­tian leg­end, each Roberto Coin de­sign fea­tures a “hid­den” ruby, which is Coin’s ex­pres­sion and of­fer­ing for long life, health and hap­pi­ness. The red ruby leg­end stems from the an­cient be­lief that when a ruby touches your skin, it ex­udes a mys­ti­cal and pos­i­tive en­ergy to its wearer. More­over, it is the dense vi­brancy of the ac­tual red colour that peo­ple in­stantly re­spond to.

Dat­ing back to 1340 BC in Egypt, red colours were long as­so­ci­ated with love and pas­sion, and in per­sonal adorn­ment as a sym­bol of ado­ra­tion. The very first wed­ding band came from Alexan­dria in Egypt and was worn by Queen Ne­fer­titi. Her band was pure red, crafted from rich, red flower petals used to dye palm leaves. The leaves were cut, tightly wrapped, then wo­ven into a band. Of course, once Egyp­tians dis­cov­ered how to set coloured

stones, their queens and pharaohs be­gan wear­ing lav­ish and colour­ful head­dresses, neck­laces and state­ment rings.

By mea­sur­ing elec­tronic brain­waves and heart­beats, we can see that a per­son’s pulse spikes when he or she looks at the colour red. Depend­ing on where that red colour is placed, it may have ei­ther a pow­er­ful pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive con­nec­tion.

The adage may be old, but the sig­nif­i­cance rings true for to­day’s bride. There is a level of su­per­sti­tion con­nected to “some­thing blue”, de­not­ing sus­tained hap­pi­ness and longevity within the mar­riage, when worn by the fe­male in some ca­pac­ity. Vera Wang in­cor­po­rates this su­per­sti­tion into her Love bridal jew­ellery col­lec­tion by us­ing blue sap­phires. “I hope this gem­stone ad­di­tion will cul­mi­nate in a time­less ring that will be trea­sured for an eter­nity,” Vera Wang stated when asked why she brands with sap­phires.

The use of colour in this way also pro­vides recognition that the item is au­then­tic to the de­signer.

The al­lure of peri­dot

A colour story that res­onates in a very in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic way has been crafted by a new­comer to the jew­ellery world, Cathy Beck. Based on the love of her sec­ond­born, she se­lected the child’s Au­gust birth­stone, peri­dot, to be branded in each of her de­signs.

This is a col­lec­tion that has a strong and per­son­alised story all by it­self, due to the na­ture of her con­vert­ible and in­ter­change­able cus­tomi­sa­tion of rings and pen­dants. Beck is launch­ing a fine jew­ellery col­lec­tion that of­fers a world­wide first – the abil­ity to have any shape crown fit se­curely on a ring shank. Each shank fea­tures a peri­dot next to the ini­tials “CB” which are the hall­marks for her Cre­ative Be­ing line, where the pur­chaser is the de­signer.

“I se­lected the peri­dot since it is my daugh­ter’s birth­stone and it of­fers a pow­er­ful align­ment to na­ture, abun­dance and life it­self,” stated Beck. “I wanted some­thing that would touch your skin and touch your heart,” she added.

Peri­dot’s his­tory, in both na­ture and in cul­ture, is fas­ci­nat­ing. It is one of the old­est known gem­stones. An­cient records doc­u­ment peri­dot min­ing as early as 1500 BC. It is es­pe­cially con­nected with an­cient Egypt, and his­to­ri­ans have con­firmed that Cleopa­tra, known for wear­ing green stones once thought to be emer­alds, was adorned with peri­dots.

I’ve used the word brand a lot in this ar­ti­cle. A brand is a prom­ise, an essence, the soul if you will, of a prod­uct or ser­vice. It dif­fers from mar­ket­ing, which is the ex­e­cu­tion of strate­gic plan­ning, tac­tics, pric­ing, po­si­tion­ing and place­ment. With­out a brand, one has an empty of­fer­ing. No mat­ter how strong the mar­ket­ing may be, with­out a soul, a brand will be short-lived, if it lives at all. Colour can help dif­fer­en­ti­ate a brand since colour sym­bol­ism in jew­ellery con­nects peo­ple to prod­uct and ig­nites a story, some as an­cient as time it­self.

I en­vi­sion more de­sign­ers lever­ag­ing the power of colour in their brand­ing. By do­ing so, their brand will gain added vi­brancy and a de­tail of sto­ry­telling that will re­sult in ad­di­tional sales and re­ten­tion.

Some­thing old, some­thing new, some­thing bor­rowed, some­thing blue

A brand is a prom­ise, an essence, the soul if you will, of a prod­uct or ser­vice. It dif­fers from mar­ket­ing, which is the ex­e­cu­tion of strate­gic plan­ning, tac­tics, pric­ing, po­si­tion­ing and place­ment. With­out a brand, one has an empty of­fer­ing. No mat­ter how strong the mar­ket­ing may be, with­out a soul, a brand will be short-lived, if it lives at all. ”

Sym­phony ban­gle in 18-karat pink gold and di­a­monds fea­tur­ing the brand’s sig­na­ture ruby by Roberto Coin. (Photo: Roberto Coin)

Roberto Coin’s 18-karat Golden Gate Bridge ring ac­cented by di­a­monds and fea­tur­ing the brand’s sig­na­ture ruby. (Photo: Roberto Coin)

Tif­fany’s iconic Blue Box. (Photo: Tif­fany & Co.)

Rings from Vera Wang’s Love col­lec­tion, launched in as­so­ci­a­tion with Zale’s, fea­tur­ing her sig­na­ture blue sap­phire. (Photos: Vera Wang)

Rings fea­tur­ing a peri­dot on the in­side of the shaft as well as an in­ter­change­able peri­dot top that fits onto the shank of any ring in col­lec­tions by Cre­ative Be­ing. (Photos: Cre­ative Be­ing)

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