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Brand Portfolio: Wixon Jewelers

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WIXON
JEWELERS

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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Wixon Jewelers has a 4.8-star
Google rating. But what makes that
statistic really impressive is that it
is based on 64 reviews. On Yelp, its
average rating is 5 stars. The consensus
on both sites, in a nutshell:
“I couldn’t have asked for a better
experience at Wixon.”

What’s not surprising — considering its
stellar reviews and quality website — is that
Wixon has a full-time, in-house marketing
director, Jayme Pretzloff, as well as a graphic
designer.

In-house marketing allows for flexibility
as well as consistency. “We’re a two-person
show doing the bulk of everything
in-house,” Pretzloff says. “Our web agency
does the hard programming on the website’s
back end, but copy, graphics and web
design are all done in-house. You know your
product better than some ad agency and
you have creative control and execution.
You can get everything out on time and you
can turn on a dime to adapt to changes.”

Pretzloff, who has been on staff for three
years, says his first assignment was to focus
on the digital side of the branding package.
Before 2012, Wixon’s online presence was
negligible; now it’s outstanding.

“It’s always tough with reviews,” says
Pretzloff, “and it seems that you tend to
hear from the negative people — that’s the
nature of the beast. If they’ve had a bad experience,
they want to tell everyone about
it.” The only way to circumvent that is to
make sure they don’t have a sad tale to tell.
“Our goal is to provide an incredible experience
whether they’ve come in to have their
watch battery replaced or they’re having an
engagement ring designed.”

Wixon’s staff encourages satisfied customers
to write a review and hands them
a reminder card, but it doesn’t offer them
incentives to do so. “In everything we do, we
take the approach of doing it the right way,”
Pretzloff says, “rather than using gimmicks
or tricks. Where some companies would
do a big push for reviews we wanted it to be
organic and come across that way.”

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BRANDING ELEMENTS AT WIXON JEWELERS

Futuristic jewelry display cases at Veloce jewelry store

RADIO STRATEGY
Copy is written specifically
for each radio station. “If we
know a certain demographic
is very conservative, we know
how to craft the message for
them,” Pretzloff says. The
message will be targeted to
how the demographic would
use the store — engagement,
service, watches, etc.
The morning host of the
local CBS news talk radio station
talks about his experiences
at Wixon Jewelers. “He’s so
important to his listenership
that whatever he says is really
gold,” Pretzloff says. “He’s
really able to talk in a personal
sense. That’s the way we want
the message to come across.
People can see through all the
smoke and mirrors in marketing.
When you do have a brand
that has that true sense of service
and is doing all the right
things for all the right reasons
that comes through.”


After-hours party at Veloce jewelry store

SOCIAL MEDIA
Wixon does still advertise frequently in print
ads targeting the affluent, on radio stations and
outdoor displays. Online, they’ve perfected their
SEO to drive traffic to their website. They’ve spent
money on Google ads and time on social media.
“Instead of having each piece work independently,
when you have a holistic plan, you’re able to
leverage all of your media spends to build off each
other,” Pretzloff says. “We need to be where our
clients are.”

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MAGAZINES
All magazine ads and website photos are
shot in-house. “I realized we didn’t have consistent
images available and there wasn’t always
a front shot and a side shot,” Pretzloff says.
“Some were vendor images. We needed to find
a way to cost effectively do photos in-house, to
have consistency but not have it be ridiculously
time consuming. In retrospect, all of the time
we invested in that was well worth it. Now we
don’t have to pay several hundred dollars an
hour to have a pro shoot it, and we can have any
angle we want — and details of each piece.”


Vendor promotion from Velocé jewelry store

CUSTOM
CHAMPAGNE
BOTTLES

When a client picks
up an engagement
ring purchased from
Wixon, they are surprised
with a bottle
of champagne. The
bottle features a front
label with a large photo
of the engagement
ring and is customized
with the couple’s
names. The back label
also has a customized
message on it. Some
couples use it to celebrate their engagements, some
save it for their first anniversary; others display it
in their house. The bottle is often featured on social
media posts. “We always look for ways to differentiate
ourselves from other jewelry stores,” Pretzloff
says. “It wasn’t our original intent, but it’s good
marketing, too. Response from clients has been
overwhelming.”


Interactive jewelry display at Veloce jewelry store

OUT OF THE BOX EVENTS
Store events always deliver
signature cocktails and a
crowd-drawing surprise. The
Wixons flew in a multimillion-
dollar Bugatti supercar
for a recent watch event and
their garden party featured
human garden statues, painted
white — so convincing, they
caused a few spilled drinks
when they moved. (Unlike
Greek sculptures, these models
were fully clothed.)


Brand-focused events at Veloce jewelry store

PRINT ADS
Pretzloff oversees all of the store’s branding
to ensure it reflects the message of luxury and
reaches the target demographic — ages 35 to 65
and most often male. “We are a huge jewelry store,
but we don’t talk about our size,” he says. “We try to
connect with our client. That’s what gets difficult
as you grow. Especially within print, our approach
has been witty. If you can get someone to laugh,
they are more likely to remember your message.
We don’t want our marketing to be dry and matter
of fact, because that’s not fun.” Pretzloff says people
will save print ads and bring them in five years
later. “They’ll say, ‘Now is the time to design my
ring, and this is the one I want.’”


Celebrities are featured on Veloce's social media accounts

WEBSITE

Wixon launched a new website
in May 2013, which received terrific
feedback from clients and industry
associates. It features “responsive
design,” meaning that the web pages
adapt to whatever device the visitor
is using for the best possible browsing
experience. So it looks completely
different on an iPhone than
it does on a computer screen. All of
the content on the website’s education
section is produced in-house.
“Even if the visitor doesn’t buy from
us, it’s important that they get their
questions answered, so that they
can make the most informed decision
possible,” Pretzloff says.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

A Packed Store Like the Day Before Christmas? Wilkerson Makes It Happen

Deb Schulman says once she and her husband, Ron, decided to retire, she could feel “the stress start to leave.” The owners of B. Alsohns Jewelers in Palm Desert, California, the Schulmans had heard about Wilkerson over the years and contacted them when the time was right. Wilkerson provided the personalized service, experience and manpower it took to organize their GOB sale. “We are so impressed with the way Wilkerson performed for us,” says Ron Schulman, “I’d send high accolades to anyone who was interested.”

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Brand Portfolio

Store Brands Its Nautical-Themed Identity

A quest for a canoe started it all.

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WHEN ERIK AND LESLIE Runyan were planning interior design for their new store in Vancouver, WA, they were browsing in a store in Portland, OR, and happened to see a light fixture they loved: a hollowed-out canoe hanging upside down from the ceiling, with lights mounted inside. That led to a quest for a canoe chandelier of their own. After searching for weeks, they found a handmade wooden canoe for sale atop a houseboat on the Willamette River near Portland. “I drove my boat to it, Leslie and I hoisted it up, and so began its journey to Vancouver,” Runyan recalls. “The seller had no reason to suspect that I was going to put three holes in it and hang it upside down!” The resulting work of functional art, crafted by Steve Strong of Strong Construction, set the tone for the nautical-inspired store on the Columbia River as well as a branding campaign. The canoe is a powerful symbol for Runyan, for several reasons. The river, Runyan says, and access to the ocean, created Vancouver and define both city and store. When not running the store, Runyan can be found crewing aboard motor yachts from Mexico to Canada as a licensed Merchant Marine 100-ton captain. “These moments are my inspiration,” he says.

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Themed Parties

Events “Under the Canoe” have included Chamber of Commerce “After Hours” parties and receptions for artists during Art Walk Downtown Vancouver events.

The Gift of Gab

Erik Runyan says even his talented staff fits in with the nautical theme, since they are all great storytellers, an important attribute to have when engaged in high-seas adventures or a canoe ride down the Willamette River.

Under The Canoe

The novel canoe chandelier became the center of a marketing campaign. “Promoting all of the good things that can happen ‘Under the Canoe’ is fun and will continue to grow,” Runyan says.

Under the Influence

A branded wine label is part of the ERJ branding plan. “It gives me great pleasure to open and share a bottle with a customer or send them home with some to enjoy later,” Runyan says. They also introduced Wine Wednesdays, when light appetizers and local seasonal wines are served.

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All In, Online

Most of ERJ’s advertising dollars go to the Internet. “SEO, SEM and social are how you can find me now. I am ‘all in’ looking for a connection with future customers of ERJ. My web traffic has quadrupled for the efforts put toward Google, Yelp and Facebook. Our blogs discuss both diamond education and proposal tips.”

A Catchy New Moniker

In addition to the Under the Canoe branding campaign, the use of EJR, rather than Erik Runyan Jewelers, helped modernize and transform branding for the century-old business.

Almost Seaworthy

The nautical branding theme is smoothly integrated with the store’s interior. Other nautical notes found throughout the store include an operational ship’s wheel, plank wood flooring, welcome aboard sign, custom compass rose wood floor medallion and visibly marked latitude and longitude coordinates. The 18-foot ceilings add to the feeling of openness and room for adventure.

Making an Impression

ERJ’s ad images include the canoe symbol as well as the compass symbol, which is integrated into the ERJ logo.

Canoe Talisman

Erik Runyan is in the process of developing canoe-themed jewelry.

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Brand Portfolio

Kentucky’s EAT Gallery Aims to Feed the Soul

Brand identity tied to neon sign.

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MAYSVILLE, KY, IS A PICTURESQUE town of about 9,000 on the banks of the Ohio River. For much of the 20th century its downtown was home to Morgan’s restaurant, a popular diner with a classic neon sign that spells out EAT.

When it became a jewelry gallery, new owners Simon and Laurie Watt kept the sign, lost the food and gained an eclectic collection of art, jewelry and other treasures. In its current incarnation, EAT stands for Exquisite Art Treasures. The owners showcase one-of-a-kind pieces from jewelers around the world and create natural stone and pearl jewelry in-house. It’s an unusual but distinctive brand identity for a jewelry store. “New people in town get confused and we do get the occasional person who comes in and looks around and says, ‘Isn’t this a restaurant?’ But overall, it’s a clever play on a vintage sign. The name does a lot for us. It makes people curious,” says manager Katherine Cotterill.

The store’s tagline, appropriately enough, is “EAT Gallery: We feed your soul.”

Maysville is not far from Lexington, KY, and just about an hour east of Cincinnati, OH, which has a thriving art community. So to reach the artsy denizens of Cincinnati, they’ve targeted independent movie houses that show foreign films and other independent films for a marketing campaign. Movie-theater advertising brings in more potential customers than anything else they’ve tried. Cotterill created a 15-second video showing actual products available at EAT Gallery that runs before every movie.

Advertising on National Public Radio takes the form of sponsorship and offers some information on the history of the building and “the business that houses jewelry and treasures from around the world,” Cotterill says.

Social Media

Manager Katherine Cotterill, left, organized a contest called Thankful For, in which customers were invited to share what they were thankful for and why. The winner was given an original painting. Other contest winners have been awarded swag bags.

The Sign

The name EAT Gallery (Exquiste Art Treasures) comes from the neon sign (pictured above) that has hung on the front of the building for over 60 years.

Direct Mail

Glossy postcards for trunk shows and special events feature beautiful photographs of jewelry found in the store. Cotterill, who once worked for a Maysville portrait photographer and took some photojournalism classes in college, also handles most of the store’s product photography in-house using a lightbox and lamps she stores in the gallery’s basement.

Gem Gossip

Influencer Danielle Mielle visited EAT Gallery as part of Gem Gossip’s jewelry road trip series.

Theater Program

Maysville has a group called Maysville players, the oldest continuing theater group in the state. “We do a big glossy full page in all of their programs. We definitely stick to very artsy kind of organizations and groups, because all of the jewelry is handmade. When they leave with something, they have a story,” says Cotterill.

Packaging

EAT Gallery’s bags are likely to bring comments and boost brand visibility wherever they go.

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Brand Portfolio

How Regional Jeweler Meets Customers Where They Live

Lately, the company is focused on data-driven geo-fencing.

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BERNIE ROBBINS JEWELERS’ marketing strategy, fueled by a savvy, full-time staff of four, is ever-evolving. Lately, it’s focused on data-driven geo-fencing. “We’re trying to be more relevant to the audience we want to attract,” says CEO Harvey Rovinsky.

Geo-fencing is, in essence, a virtual perimeter drawn around any space. Potential clients within that geo-fenced area can be targeted for certain events, such as bridal events, in the store. So Bernie Robbins can concentrate on a geographical area they believe has a strong potential for bridal customers, and then the marketing department will know in real time whether or not it’s working. They’ll be alerted when someone they’ve targeted walks into the store. “We are a brick-and-mortar location, so return on digital ads is usually an impression or a click,” says Peter Salerno, digital marketing manager. “But in this circumstance, we can see that someone is walking into one of our physical locations because of it.”

In the past year, geo-fencing and behavior-targeted social media advertising have become a larger part of the company’s media budget. Shifting the advertising to be more data driven has increased the ability to deliver advertisements to people who will actually be interested in them. “Every day, we grow our database and develop a better understanding of our potential customers,” says Cristin Cipa, director of marketing. 

“I can’t overestimate the value of marketing,” Rovinsky says. “We commit very significant resources to it. We look at ourselves as a marketing company that happens to sell jewelry.” One staffer in the marketing department spends two days every week taking professional photos of jewelry to use on Instagram and the website. 

Says Rovinsky: “We still do clienteling by telephone and text. Here’s what we’re not doing: newspaper and TV. We still do radio, outdoor, and we do one city book. Other than that, it’s all things digital.” 

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Billboard

“Our clientele is busy and on-the-go; they are looking for visual and easily digestible content,” says Cipa, citing the example of a co-op Cartier billboard. “Regional billboards are still a large part of our media budget. With five locations across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we cover a large geographic footprint and believe that strategically placed billboards continue to reach our geographic targets.”

Influencers

Bernie Robbins has increasingly engaged with “micro-influencers,” people in a range of age demographics who live in the community, have strong social followings, but also have a real relationship with a network of potential local customers. Influencers are recruited for their authenticity, a word Salerno describes as the big, sexy word for 2018. 

Print

A co-op Forevermark ad in Philadelphia Style magazine focuses on a classic engagement ring that, thanks to clean branding, is allowed to simply pop off the page. “Forevermark engagement rings are stunning and we loved aligning with their elegant language, ‘It’s a long journey to become the one,’“ says Cipa.

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Social Media Strategy

Bernie Robbins adapts its brand voice to its social media audience. “We know we have to have a strong presence on Instagram to engage with our younger customers,” Cipa says. “Our brand voice on Instagram is slightly younger and tends to be more playful. We are selective and only post professional, clean-looking photos.”

Regional Promotion

Leveraging key regional happenings is key to the company’s marketing strategy. Bernie Robbins owners Harvey and Maddy Rovinsky, lifelong fans of their hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles, offered fellow fans a dream proposal story by giving away two tickets to the 2018 Super Bowl LII to the first couple who purchased an engagement ring valued at $50,000 or more. The giveaway launched on a Monday, and by the end of the week, they had a winner — Bob Wanum of Doylestown, PA. Married for more than 30 years to the love of his life, Teresa, Bob proposed a vow renewal during the big game. 

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Butterfly Packaging

The signature butterfly packaging, which represents joy, hope and love, has been an iconic part of the brand for 50 years.

Branded Champagne

Bernie Robbins’ branded champagne is served for special occasions and during events.

Chic at the Shore

Bernie Robbins has hosted the event series, Chic at the Shore, in the Somers Point, NJ, location every summer for years, publishing a magazine to highlight the events and the jewelry. In 2017, the marketing department bolstered the branding by sending out email blasts and launching a digital flip book, which lives on their website and allows consumers to browse at their convenience. “Our loyal consumers love the weekly events hosted all summer long,” says Cipa.

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