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How a Big Advertising Spend is Producing Big Results for New Jeweler

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Last year, after reaching $1 million in revenue, Jennifer Farnes was recognized as owning one of the fastest-growing businesses in Colorado. Her growth has averaged 32 percent each year since she opened in 2013.

She credits her background in marketing and her advertising philosophy for her success, combined with her strong focus on custom design. She believes in spending 15 percent of gross income on advertising, a belief she has put into practice consistently since she opened.

She urges others to do the same, but recognizes it can be scary to take 15 percent of your hard-earned money, seemingly throw it at something, and hope that it sticks. In her case, she started out small with Google, added Facebook and then experimented with commercials at her local movie theater. Next came radio and TV. Because of her high profile in the community, Revolution Jewelry Works was approached for what turned out to be a wildly successful cross-promotion with a local TV station, the arena and Cirque Du Soleil.


Promoting the Revolution

Farnes — a Ron Paul fan — liked the theme of his 2008 presidential campaign, “Join the Revolution.” She wanted to revolutionize how clients perceived jewelry stores. As someone who hadn’t grown up in the business, she perceived jewelry stores and the people who worked there to be stuffy, overdressed and snooty. She wanted a place that would appeal to her: laid-back, open and casual, with a knowledgeable team focused on custom design. She also wanted to avoid commission battles after she had watched two associates at a chain store argue in front of her about who deserved credit for the sale of her wedding set. She came up with a sit-down environment that invites clients to get comfortable and a profit-sharing approach that encourages team selling. She also simply asks the clients directly if they have a budget in mind. The logo, designed by one of her best friends who is a graphic designer, expresses her revolutionary fervor perfectly.


Traditional Radio and TV

Farnes’ approach to radio advertising is breezy, conversational and relatable. She prefers to advertise on stations that she and her staff listen to or watch. “We wanted to focus on trying to bring in an audience that relates to us, because then it’s easy to have something to relate to — like, we listen to the same music — when they come into the store,” she says. “Try to attract people who are like you.”


Building Trust on Local TV

Farnes appears regularly as a guest expert on a local TV show specifically geared toward moms to offer tips about caring for jewelry. “That has been a business driver for us by building trust,” she says.

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Social Media

In addition to advertising promotions, Facebook is a perfect showcase for a variety of custom design options and for encouraging holiday gift giving.


High Profile Cross-Promotion

Revolution Jewelry Works’ high profile in the community attracted the attention of Cirque Du Soleil, which reached out to Farnes as a partner for a promotional ticket giveaway for their show, Crystals at the World Arena.

The promotion involved a scavenger hunt for 2-foot-tall crystal sculptures hidden in plain sight near landmarks, biking trails and public parks around Colorado Springs. It was organized by a local TV station, which offered hints to their locations. Each sculpture included instructions for their finders to visit Revolution Jewelry Works and trade the sculpture for free tickets to the show. A total of 160 $60 tickets were up for grabs; a pack of four was awarded for each of 40 sculptures brought into the jewelry store.

One of the sculptures was marked with a special symbol that indicated its finder had won a crystal pendant that Farnes designed.

Aside from that effort, “All we had to do was swap sculptures for tickets, take photos and post to social media,” says Farnes, who went all out on the social media campaign.

The giveaway drove 40 new potential clients into the store — each of whom had their photo land on Revolution Jewelry Works’ Facebook page — and piqued a lot of curiosity about her operation as well. “We made quite a few sales from people coming in and loving our studio,” she says. “We are so active in social media that it improved their ticket sales. It gained steam very fast.” As a result, the World Arena plans to work with Revolution Jewelry Works on future cross-promotions, such as Dancing With The Stars.

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Community Involvement

Farnes works with a local high school that has a CAD class, where she is often recognized as “the lady from the movie-theater commercials.” Students design charms for bracelets that are auctioned for fundraising. All of the charms are designed by students and the themes are chosen by the individual teams. A “Space” bracelet and an “Ocean” bracelet raised a total of $1,800 for the school during the live auction.


Movie Theater Commercials 

Farnes works with a local company to produce TV commercials that get prime-time exposure on local movie theater screens. It’s turned out to be an incredible way to reach millennials, she says. Movie theaters are trying to lure in viewers early to watch those commercials by offering them prizes like free popcorn if they link with the movie theater’s website. Meanwhile, every time her contract renewal is up, Farnes works to move her commercial up as close to the start time of the movie as possible to reach the largest audience available. “You can be on every screen every showing every day of the week and the cost per screen gets lower and lower. Movie theaters are ridiculously successful,” Farnes says.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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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. 

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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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