Let’s talk about the humble coffee bean. There is so much about it that today’s consumers want to know. Where was it made? Was it ethically sourced? What variety is it? Does the brand support fair trade? What is the story of this coffee bean?
Whether buying coffee, cosmetics or a diamond, the product’s origin and history throughout the manufacturing cycle - its story - has become an integral part of the consumer experience.
More than just a story, today’s consumers want to hear the true story of the product. In fact, a fascinating global survey by McCann Worldgroup about consumer attitudes identified “truth” as the most valued currency worldwide, with 72% of respondents saying that truth comes before anything else. What’s more, 81% said they believe that global brands can make the world a better place.
By placing truth, authenticity and betterment of the world as core values, there is definite potential for brands to reach the hearts and minds of consumers in a powerful and genuine way.
This is particularly pertinent to the diamond industry, where lack of trust and the perception of exploitation (ie. the ‘blood diamonds’ issue) have hampered consumer confidence. By countering some of these obstacles with verified information about the diamond’s origins and provenance, as provided in Sarine’s Diamond Journey™ digital traceability reports, retailers can positively influence consumer attitudes in the jewelry store.
Diamond Journey: The polished enigma
Polished diamonds are indeed beautiful, but to the untrained eye of the lay consumer, they all appear very much alike. Many retailers struggle to show their customers how special each polished diamond really is.
At closer look, however, it becomes apparent just how different polished diamonds are from one another. Every polished diamond has a unique constellation of birthmarks, such as internal inclusions and external flaws. These are a result of two forces: the formation process of the diamond deep inside the earth, and the way the diamond was cut and polished during the manufacturing stage. The average consumer cannot see or understand these birthmarks on their own, as they are usually minuscule, requiring a loupe or some other imaging tool to magnify them. Oftentimes, the consumer has no choice but to trust the word of the salesperson and a piece of paper (the standard diamond grading report) as to the features and value of a diamond.
As a result, consumers have become wary of the lack of transparency in the polished diamond’s history. Is it really the same diamond that is described in the paper report? Did it really come from the specified mine? Was the diamond previously owned? Was it recut and repolished? Is it natural or lab grown? Is it really a VS1? These are all legitimate questions and consumers have every right to ask them. It is up to jewelry retailers to provide the truth of the diamond’s journey, and to help consumers feel confident in the provenance and authenticity of the diamond they want to purchase.
Telling the Journey of the Diamond in the Rough
Unlike polished diamonds, which can look almost identical to the naked eye, rough diamonds are completely and visibly unique - there are no two identical roughs in the world. Every polished diamond comes from a rough diamond that is one of a kind. In its original rough source, a diamond’s true uniqueness is evident.
The Diamond Journey, as presented in Sarine’s traceability report, begins here. The rough diamond, verified in Sarine’s cloud-based database as the true origin of the polished diamond, adds depth and meaning to the diamond’s journey. It presents vital, visual information about where the diamond came from, and how it transformed from rough to polished throughout every stage of manufacturing. It connects the individual diamond to many things: geography, nature, community and history. This is the truth of the diamond and its journey from mine to jewelry store.
What the Diamond Journey is All About
Every diamond has undergone its own journey. The next part of the puzzle is getting consumers to connect with the diamond and its journey. Sarine’s Diamond Journey™ report accomplishes this in three ways:
- Building trust & confidence: Truth is the basis for trust, and the Diamond Journey report aims to tell the truth of the diamond. It displays the diamond’s transformation from rough to polished exactly as it occurred. It presents the diamond’s inclusions and features exactly as they are. The Diamond Journey encourages consumers to “see the beauty in the scars”.
- Getting to know the diamond: When people feel connected to a product, they are more likely to want to own it. The Diamond Journey exposes all the information available about the diamond’s grading, features and appearance, helping consumers to become familiar with the diamond’s unique character and journey. By understanding the diamond’s origins and how it came to be, consumers can make a better-informed decision as to whether it’s the right diamond for them.
- Providing an interactive, digital experience: Tech has become an integral part of the buying experience for consumers, whether it’s searching on their mobile phones to compare prices while in the store, using augmented reality-based apps to visualize how a product will look in their homes, or customized suggestions delivered by push notification to the customer’s mobile phone. The Diamond Journey report satisfies the consumer need for an interactive, immersive, virtual experience that they can enjoy in the store, and on their mobile devices after they leave the store.
Back to the coffee bean. Imagine a cafe where customers can choose their coffee beans from a rich selection. Each variety is displayed with a story about where it came from, how it was produced and by whom, its unique flavor, color and properties. The customer watches while their choice of beans is ground and brewed on the spot. It’s no longer just a “cup of joe”. It’s about authenticity, community, geography, aroma and much more. It’s an experience that connects the customer to the cup of coffee in a deep and powerful way.
This is what the diamond journey is all about. Unlike standard, generic diamond reports, every data point in the Sarine Diamond Journey is specific and verified to the individual diamond, told as a compelling, visual, interactive digital story, so the diamond takes on a life of its own.