Regal Imports News for NOVEMBER 2018
"Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is any activity or enterprise entered into for profit."
Business is all about making money. The challenge lies in developing a strategy that will lead to success. My wife is fond of comparing success in America to the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong. She says "the difference between a hero and a bum in America is whether you get caught".
If success in business is all about who makes the most money then maybe that explains why many in the diamond business measure success only in terms of dollars and cents.
Success in business can be compared to a successful politician; it's all about making yourself popular with your base. When you want to get your base excited you don't always present yourself as you are but the way that you want the public to think of you.
There are certain rules in running a principled business. You should not misrepresent. You need to protect yourself while not taking advantage of your client. You should not slander your competition. You should be honest and truthful and so on while still generating profit. A business hero walks the razors edge by making big money without crossing into forbidden territory.
The diamond business is much like any other business, now and then someone crosses the line and gets into trouble. However, legal issues are not what I wish to address.
Today's major spenders are the younger generation or those born after 1980. It follows that a successful marketing campaign should appeal to this group. To attract a specific group, a business needs to align with that group's values. To extend this idea to the diamond business, a diamond must become more than just a diamond it must reflect the values of the younger buyer.
It has been decided by the 'marketing powers' that younger people are ethical, environmentally conscious, interested in human rights and sexual equality. Diamonds must then align with these and many other values in order to excite young consumers.
Marketing experts are focused on making appropriate diamond image transformations. Mining is described in more environmentally friendly terms. Blockchain technology guarantees that diamonds are ethically sourced. Diamond businesses are supporting appropriate related causes and making sure that all their philanthropic activities are well publicized. It must be noted that marketing expenses are purpose driven. Corporations are looking for 'return on investment' for corporate responsibility. It is at this point that business can cross the line.
Business cannot be perceived as trying to take advantage of a set of values simply to create more sales. This is 'disingenuous'. Consumers hate insincerity. Younger consumers value authenticity. A business model that exploits a cause simply to produce financial opportunity can initiate negative repercussions.
I am not the first to observe that the corporate diamond world, which has previously not been overly involved with ethical ideologies, is suddenly infused with corporate enthusiasm. Commitment is not about supporting an appropriate cause today and then waiting to catch the next craze tomorrow. The authenticity that our younger generation respects comes from a firm commitment to do the right thing for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do.
It all boils down to what Mark Hanna of the Richline Group calls 'trustability', which he translates as expressing honestly 'what you are and what you believe'.