Prelude

When I first heard that LVMH had sent Anthony Ledru and Alexandre Arnault to reform Tiffany & Co., I got almost indecently excited. Good God, could Tiffany – with its rich history and progressive initiatives – really join the thin ranks of high jewellers of modern relevance?

Someone faint of heart (or of better judgement), would sit back, trusting the power duo to do all there is to make Tiffany all it can be. According to the media, the plan is to make the brand more prestigious and less reliant on bridal products. 

With that gem of an idea practically ripped out of my mouth – what (else) could Tiffany do to become the Porsche of jewellery – tasteful, but cool; rooted in history, but modern; immediately recognisable, but exciting; leading the industry towards a brighter future?

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In short:

  • Make rich product information (incl. provenance) instantly available to consumers
  • Lean into good-faith initiatives, invite consumers to participate 
  • Focus in-store experience on relationship building
  • Offer versatile remote service options to minimise disengaged walk-ins
  • Offer a membership programme that provides access to LVMH+ & identifies patrons as philanthropists

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Communications

Block-chained provenance

Tiffany could supplement product details, both online and in-store, with instantly accessible blockchain-backed digital journeys, spanning from mines to shelves, hitting all the stops in-between. 

Since Tiffany is already on the forefront of material traceability, it would mostly be a matter of managing existing information with modern technology. Commonly available, the information would further stress the brand’s laudable policies and subject-matter expertise. 

Ethical & sustainable

An adjacent topic, important to 44% of luxury buyers (81% in China) – is ethical behaviour and sustainability. Again, something Tiffany has long invested in, could find a more overt consumer-facing form. The company could go paperless, promote its use of sustainable materials and invite customers to actively participate and share ownership in the cleaner future. 

Tiffany could also demonstrate its supply chain beyond generic stories of artisan craftsmanship, by allowing a peek into clean factories, operated by people, receiving decent wages.

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Retail experience

Tiffany could design physical stores to focus on relationship-building interactions. 

Consumers, preferring to explore products without talking to staff, could do so online, enjoying rich product history (including block-chained provenance), engaging Tiffany consultants as required – either via a messenger or a video platform like Hero, connecting customers with the consultants from the nearest dedicated point of retail.   

This would allow the stores to move away from the dominance of product tables, replacing some with more impactful hero displays and repurposing the rest of the environment for more comfortable and meaningful customer engagements. 

Thus, Tiffany would leverage its high-caliber staff to build deeper bonds rather than spend time conveying basic information. Consumers willing to engage, could come for inspiration, with a requirement in mind, or following preliminary online search, perhaps setting a few items aside for a face-to-face discussion.

A less formal retail environment would also allow Tiffany to move away from the conservative uniforms, allowing staff to choose garments (from other LVMH houses) that better reflect their personalities, looking both – elegant and more relaxed, while cross-promoting fashion brands to affluent consumers. 

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Membership

Again? Could I not come up with something new/better/more novel? Is this just lazy recycling of a once-good idea, thrust senselessly upon each and every case that crosses my mind?   

Firstly – rude! Secondly – the question is not whether (almost any) brand would benefit from having a membership programme. Membership programmes:

  • Allow building deeper relationships and with that – deeper moats
  • Increase likelihood of word-of-mouth recommendation
  • Increase frequency of purchase & amount spent
  • Increase customers’ attention span & perception of brand as category ‘favourite’ 
  • And finally – (often) lead to recurring and more diverse revenue 

👊 🎤

The question, therefore, is – how to make membership worthwhile to people, who don’t care about volume discounts. With that in mind, in exchange for a monthly fee, Tiffany & Co. members could receive: 

Access to LVMH+

Obviously, Tiffany & Co. membership would come with access to LVMH+ and all its benefits, including (for those, who didn’t yet ingest this marvel): 

  • Exclusive access to limited edition products across the group
  • Localised digital ecosystem of lifestyle services 
  • Curated list of experience packages, at home & abroad

Philanthropy

Tiffany supports a plethora of worthy initiatives. Members could adopt one and let Tiffany donate a sizeable share of their membership fees to a good cause, in exchange for progress reports and further engagement opportunities. Thus, Tiffany membership would become a vehicle for consumers to engage in philanthropy under reliable administration of a trusted brand. 

Annual pin

Finally, to spread the word and allow patrons show off their noble inclinations, Tiffany could produce exclusive pins, delivered to members annually. The pins would be small and unisex, illustrating the duration of the wearer’s commitment – i.e. a butterfly after a year, a rabbit after two, etc.

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Coda

It sure is lovely to share wisdom, half-sitting on my exceedingly comfortable bed, away from the stress of a fast-paced transformation. Tiffany & Co. is a great brand, fuelled by thoughtful policies. A lot has changed since Audrey Hepburn peeked into those massive windows: 40% of women buy their own jewellery, people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars online, men wear pearls, second hand jewellery and grown diamonds are in vogue. It sure is an exciting time to be alive.

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