Global Jeweller 2: When should a brand grow beyond its Founder?

It takes a bold CMO to say that it’s time for a brand to have a presence beyond the physical presence of its Founder.

When our client, the CMO of a high jewellery house, spoke to his brand’s new owners about their ambitious plans for growth, he knew that the current Founder-led strategy would have to change.

The Founder was a charismatic leader who enthralled clients and staff alike, but he couldn’t be in the London, Geneva and New York boutiques all at the same time. He alone couldn’t be the focus of the brand. So, the CMO asked us to help him build a brand that was strong enough to enthral clients whether or not the Founder was present.

Brand stories are built on a brand’s positioning

When we spoke to the CMO, the Founder and his team, no one could describe the brand without talking about the Founder’s story. We saw that this wasn’t just because it was a good story. It was because the brand had never needed to tell its own story before now.

We set ourselves a simple goal: to define the key values of the brand that customers loved, which included the Founder, but had to extend beyond him too.

The beginning is the very worst place to start

Often, it’s best to start with the Founder, but we needed to distil the brand not just as it was now, but also as it could be. So we looked at the wider jewellery market, and looked at the key drivers in our client’s segment. We identified that there were 2 key values that customers demanded of every brand in this segment, even if each brand expressed them in their own way. But we also saw 2 values that our client’s brand lived by and customers loved, that no one else could compete with. These were what could give the brand a distinctive positioning.

Then, to show how these values could develop the story of the brand, we created a matrix of touchpoints along the customer journey mapped against the values. This gave the CMO a list of 50 next steps that he could put into practice, that would help to build the brand’s story across the world – in the boutiques, online, and in the press – without the Founder having to be there.

Better than we can say it

The brand recently sold the most valuable item they’ve ever created. We were delighted to see that the accompanying stories all focused on the brand, not just the Founder.