My girlfriend and I just got engaged (all those date nights coming to the logical conclusion) and it’s all been very nice indeed. Admittedly, we didn’t get quite as much of a fanfare as a certain recent engagement, but the odd card and bottle of fizz was enough for us.
One thing however that wasn’t very nice indeed was finding and buying an engagement ring. We’ve been culturally programmed to think that we need to show our love, devotion and promise of marriage with a huge chunk of compressed carbon – the result of possibly the greatest marketing drive of all time.
This can put huge financial strain on aspiring fiancés/fiancées, who have been influenced by the marketing message that ‘Diamonds are Forever’ and ‘2 months salary secures your future life together’ so expertly that we all think it’s a genuine societal norm.
And this of course is played up to by salespeople across the globe, eyes shining brighter than the diamonds they’re peddling when they hear you’re looking for an engagement ring.
“Oh congratulations, how lovely!” they cry, knowing they could be about to land the big one. I won’t name and shame the stores we visited but the scene played out consistently across the high street jewellers. Each and every time, we were asked to take a seat as the largest and most expensive ring was brought for our inspection. We were told that this one was something really special, language designed to make us feel anything else would be inferior. Every time we asked to see something else, the really special ring was left at our table, trying to shame us into not being cheapskates.
I don’t blame the salespeople per se – they’ve got targets to meet and possibly commissions to earn. But I do blame the brands that create, promote or tolerate that sort of culture. Jewellery in general, and engagement rings in particular, are very personal items and finding the right piece should be a joyous experience.
This is something that comes from a brand level – build into your brand that you’re there to help customers explore, discover and be delighted and you’ll have that customer for life. The odd glass of prosecco wouldn’t hurt either.
In the end we got a beautiful ring from Donald Edge. There’s a brand that understands how to guide customers along the journey.