How De Beers combines art and science to reach new audiences
The jewellery brand wants to appeal to a new generation by communicating its brand purpose of ‘brilliance’ through separate storytelling and marketing effectiveness teams.
Many established brands are looking for ways to connect with younger audiences who are new to their category, and for jeweller De Beers, the key has been to reorganise its marketing departments around a simple premise.
Its CMO, Martha Velando, revealed to the Festival of Marketing that after De Beers started on a journey a year ago to understand how it could help a new generation “fall in love” with the brand, the conclusion was simple. For a design-based business, it knew that marketing its products relied on both art and science, and so it embraced both as it reorganised its marketing effort.
“As marketers, we must be great storytellers, building the desire for our brands, making sure that new consumers are constantly falling in love with our story and purpose,” she explained to the audience at the Festival of Marketing.
“But equally, marketing is a science that brings rigour and discipline, to make sure that marketing investments yield good and strong returns.”
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To achieve this, the marketing department has been reorganised into two divisions. One team looks after global marketing, including measuring effectiveness, running ecommerce and managing CRM databases. The other is the brand storytelling part of the business. De Beers has offices in different time zones in its main ‘power’ markets - the USA, Europe and Asia – so, to make sure that both sides of the marketing team are aligned and working seamlessly, the marketing team has begun working from the work management platform, Asana.
“Our job is to find the stories that connect with audiences and engage customers.”
Emily Latham, Channel 4
The need for purpose
It is a perennial challenge for brands with complex organisational structures to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their work. At the Festival of Marketing, Katie Rowland, Asana’s head of marketing for Northern Europe, cited the company’s research that suggests workers spend 60% of their time completing “work about work” – administrative tasks with questionable connection to business goals - rather than using the specific skills for which they were hired. This means more than a quarter of deadlines are missed every week and 71% of knowledge industry workers admit to feeling burned out.
Rowland added: “Seven in 10 workers feel they would be better able to hit their targets and do their best work with clear processes on how they manage their work, and these are issues that work management platforms can help tackle.”
Velando agreed this endless cycle of “meetings about meetings” has to be stopped, and to avoid burn out, a good tip is to focus people on the brand’s purpose, which in De Beers case is embracing ‘brilliance’. That way, colleagues can see what role they are playing in delivering the brand’s vision and how they are adding value to the organisation and its stakeholders.
“Everyone wants to work for a company that has a purpose,” she said. “But secondly, everybody wants to feel productive. They want to understand how all the work that they're doing contributes to that mega purpose, which (for De Beers) is making life brilliant. So I think it's really important for our associates to understand the impact of their work in achieving those goals.”
In Velando’s view, delivering on a purpose leads to a strong brand, providing a virtuous circle.
“My philosophy is that marketing is not a cost, it is an investment that must yield good returns,” she said. “And the return is a healthy, growing brand that consumers prefer because of the purpose, but also because of brilliant product.
“It's really important for everyone in our team to have clarity on how their work contributes to those goals. So, we have done a lot of work on scorecards, and making sure that what we do ladders up to our bigger enterprise and our corporation goals.”
This chimed with Rowland’s view: “A lot of the time we think creatives need green fields to be at their best, when, actually, sometimes you do your best work when you have these guardrails and processes to drive effectiveness.”
By using Asana to motivate its team members, DeBeers was able to align its desire to give its marketing executives a sense of purpose and insight into the value they deliver, so that the entire marketing department not only have a shared mission, but also a feeling of pride that the work their doing is truly “brilliant”.■
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De Beers' Martha Velando on giving teams clarity on how their work contributes to brand goals
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