PLATINUM footprint has grown from 365 doors across 34 cities to 1516 stores & 271 cities
- How did platinum as a metal come to occupy a unique niche in the cluttered Indian jewellery market?
ANS: Jewellery is an inherent part of Indian culture & that culture is dominated by gold. Gold is associated with most category drivers, hence it was vital for platinum to build differentiation & aspiration based on its own inherent qualities right from the beginning. Platinum was rooted in the quality of rare – being 30times more rare than gold makes it a very unique, valuable metal, one that is truly precious. It also hence activates a different set of motivators in the consumer’s mind, taking the metal’s narrative away from the gold-owned need states of investment, security, & tradition.
Rare to the consumer means the ability to stand out, to project a certain status & image. At an emotional level rare signals how valuable a certain emotion, value, or milestone is. This set of emotional, aspirational & functional parameters has high appeal amidst the youth. They look for choices that are differentiated, can set them apart, where they resonate with the qualities, imagery displayed & connect to it emotionally
Platinum operates in 3 branded segments & they carry a consumer into the platinum fold:
Platinum Days of Love – Was launched in 2009, when we unraveled a vacant space in the spousal gifting segment. It tapped into the yearning for love & the discovery of it, even in the norm of an arranged marriage scenario. Today Platinum Days of Love represents qualities that are sought-after in modern relationships like mutual respect, equality, appreciation, partnership & friendship. It marks valued milestones in a relationship.
Evara: Was established in 2015 when the equity of platinum was extended into the bridal/trousseau sub-category. Aspects of an aspirational modern marriage in time had evolved. Parents & the modern bride to be were not full of hesitation & self-doubt. The daughter was valued, her confidence, the way she carried people along, the way she embraced her new life was recognized & appreciated. Evara came to stand for these aspirational values within the segment
Our last intervention was as recent as late last year when we launched Men of Platinum - our offering aimed at men. Men of Platinum stands for a rare breed of men for whom values matter & reflect success. It celebrates these men & their milestones
As a metal over time we have built & owned a certain basket of attributes - rarity, exclusivity, uniqueness, aspiration, modernity, is a symbol of love, marker of key milestones & the choice of the young. Using a few of these as constants, we have been able to & will continue to unlock newer segments within the cluttered jewellery market.
Today, the brand’s footprint has grown & that is testimony to the space we have carved for ourselves & the value we deliver to our partners.
- What are the key points of differentiation for platinum in the Indian jewellery landscape? What qualities of the metal make it an ideal expression of love/ the love metal? Will this narrative continue to influence demand for platinum even in the future?
- It all starts with metal. Platinum is rare & unique – our audience is one that knows, aspires for & appreciates that. The consumer today has a variety of options to choose from, they are very aware and have a discerning choice, especially when it comes to jewellery. The intrinsic value of the metal and its rarity make it extremely valuable to this consumer. It is one of the strongest reasons why platinum is a strong consideration for them.
And it is these very qualities that make it the love metal. It is a natural human instinct to want to mark what is truly significant whether a relationship or a moment with what is truly precious & rare. Jewellery has & remains a potent form of self-expression. It reflects one’s emotions, image & value system. Given what its stands for our consumer chooses platinum as the ultimate expression of love. A marker of some very important milestones in relationships & in life as well. Our philosophy on design only makes this appeal stronger because each design holds certain meanings, unfolds a story & consumers can relate to it as their own.
Looking at where the young platinum consumer is – certain needs & aspirations are here to stay. Self - expression, individuality, social distinction, marking of milestones apart from life – stage transitions matter to them. They lean towards brands that have meaning, that is authentic & have narratives that reflect their lives/aspirations. Platinum is based on these fundamentals & will continue to build deeper connections in this direction.
- What are some of the unique narratives PGI has adopted to create aspiration for platinum in India till now and do you foresee these narratives changing in future communication strategies and campaigns?
ANS: PGI focusses on three major categories of platinum jewellery in India, each of which marks the entry into the platinum portfolio based on age & life stage. The narrative around each category is unique and supported through insightful storytelling that is based on a very progressive value system.
- Platinum Days of Love: Given its role in the couple gifting space, it offers exquisite Platinum Love Bands for couples. The pieces build brand values & qualities one seeks in a relationship through product & the complementary design renditions. Young couples today see love as a journey that evolves into a strong partnership, one that is based on mutuality & equality. Where roles & behaviors go beyond the stereotypes of gender, roles & responsibilities. PDOL has always tapped into this view of relationships. It will continue drawing from aspirational, progressive, modern qualities of love.
- Evara (Wedding Trousseau Jewellery): Brings alive themes that today’s bride-to-feels strongly about. While she is much more confident & eager to embrace the next phase of her life, she also is rooted - the matter of her relationship. She holds the values she was groomed with dear & carries people along in the next chapter of her journey. She reinvents age-old practices while building support for her vision of a progressive world. If you look at our campaigns, whether it’s #DaughtersOfToday or #MyFirstEvara, they reflect this.
- Men of Platinum: Platinum Jewellery for Men is a category that has shown immense potential & promise thus far. Our narrative here is based on the rare men for whom values matter; they mark their character & their success journey. They are a source of inspiration & aspiration for many men.
Given our consumer - their aspirations & their perception of platinum, our attempt will always be to identify modern, aspirational, emerging insights that are ahead of mass popular culture. They are what we will leverage in our initiatives.
- Tell us a little bit about the platinum consumer, what are the factors that will continue to influence their purchase decisions?
- Platinum appeals most to the younger audience, which works in our favor given the demographic skew of our country. They are spoilt for choice, with multiple voices all vying for their attention. They are more aware & savvy than ever before & conscious of projecting a modern, progressive outlook. They believe their choices need to be true to their personality, their unique self, their beliefs. This mind-set is true across metros & non-metros.
When it comes to jewellery its versatility & wear-ability is important, they don’t want jewellery that sits in the locker. From a behavioral point of view, marking emotionally significant transitions in life & relationships is a ritual. Over & above that, the world of social media only adds to their need for a more individualistic expression, one which is far more personal & meaningful to them. It is with this understanding that narratives behind our brands & designs are crafted, to be in sync with their evolving needs, aspirations & expectations.
- PGI currently has 3 key categories in India - PDOL, Evara & MOP. How have these categories performed and what will be the focus in the coming future?
- I think what stands as proof to our success is the fact that our footprint has grown from 365 doors across 34 cities to 1516 stores & 271 cities. When we look at our consideration scores amidst our consumers, both young men & women, it stands at 86% & 85% respectively. Growth YOY for our strategic partners has been 18%.
Going forward in the future, Platinum Days of Love will continue its evolution within the couple gifting space, marking & charting many more milestones. Tomorrow, we could see it innovate from only ringing to other formats & extend its occasions to more milestones.
Evara currently plays in the trousseau jewellery segment. However, women are the biggest jewellery consumers, buying jewellery for many occasions other than marriage. With the shift towards relatively lighter wear at multiple price points, the brand’s role could extend, spanning both gifting & self-purchase.
Men of Platinum will stand for an emerging value system in the context of masculinity & success. Here again, there could be many more forms & formats that emerge based on design trends that cut ice across markets. Occasion wise we would want to, in due course, explore gifting & other personal milestones as well.
Other than that, jewellery has begun to see so much more innovation in design, texturing, stone - metal interplay – the variety there can be leveraged for any brand basis the role & task we assign.
- Where do you think the opportunity lies for Platinum jewellery in the post-COVID-19 era?
- The Covid-19 situation has caused unprecedented challenges in India as well as globally. When it comes to consumer sentiment, of course, it’s been impacted – our consumer, however, being younger is more optimistic & resilient. Research suggests that they feel we will be able to overcome the situation if we stick together. Home quarantine hasn’t wiped out their spirit, with many of them using this time productively to upskill, experiment, & stay connected despite the distance. This downtime has also provided the opportunity for self-introspection & many have turned out grateful for what they have - cherishing their relationships even more.
When it comes to spending, it will be more deliberate but not unnecessarily curtailed. Consumers will opt for a “less is more” approach & will lean towards meaningful brands for positive reinforcement as they step out to reclaim their life. They will seek to celebrate meaningful relationships and milestones achieved as they make a transition. The platinum brands are perfectly poised to fit into this mind-space. We have always stood for a celebration of love, life, & relationships. Our brand track supports this intent - platinum today is desired as a symbol of love, it is used to celebrate milestones & is the choice of today’s generation.
Our designs reflect this meaningfulness making our jewellery not just a celebration but a symbol of a certain quality/caliber of relationship or an individual. Our portfolio enables multiple points of entry basis life-stage & that is exactly how it could pan out too. Platinum Days of Love, for instance, celebrates love based on certain traits like mutual respect & equality. Many consumers are experiencing these in various forms through the lockdown. As they come out of the crisis, they might want to celebrate their relationship which has been tested through these difficult times. Even for Men of Platinum – certain values are appreciated now more than ever & consumers may want to acknowledge those men & traits that helped them tide past the tough times.
- How has the trade outlook been towards platinum jewellery – how has it added to their business?
- From a trade point of view, we have always worked towards building a steady consumer stream in the younger segment. Consideration for platinum amidst this younger consumer is high & that ensures the trade a secure future-facing consumer base. This is most reassuring, given the demographic profile of our country. The Indian consumer is young & median age will continue being as low as 31 till 2030
From a cultural standpoint, gold is that traditional, investment mindset driven to buy. Platinum, on the other hand, being rare is based in motivators that are both rational & emotional. Purchased for occasions where the emotional meaning of the moment is high, consumers are willing to pay more. Like the metal is a differentiated offering, so is the design. It is modern & minimal, in sync with what the young want. Given its holistic differentiation right from metal qualities, to design, to the occasion of consumption as norm platinum does not discount. Our partners see all this & recognize the immense potential that platinum has from a business standpoint.
While our marketing initiatives work consistently on creating resonance with this audience, our trade partnerships work on maximizing potential. We partner with our strategic partners, giving our inputs where it helps. This covers design, merchandise mix, marketing & conducting rigorous training models that help with metal education – enabling the sales staff to sell. Other key strategic initiatives like placing platinum in the gold section aim at capitalizing on consumer desire for platinum by upselling. The bi-metal product that we have conceptualized is stocked in the gold section & helps lower any barriers of entry into the category. Being PGI, building demand as the desire for the metal amidst all stakeholders will always be a priority for us.
KALYAN JEWELLERS, PUNJAB JEWELS AND SENCO GOLD & DIAMONDS:
“Platinum is a precious metal known for its rarity, is fast becoming the preferred choice of young India and the proof of this is a growing demand and an increasing awareness pan India. We are capitalizing on the opportunity of focusing on the category and expanding Platinum Jewellery presence across our stores. With integrated campaigns during the season by PGI and the launch of new brands like Men of Platinum at our stores coupled with best in-store practices and conversion, models have increased our platinum business. Men of Platinum will definitely be the category to propel platinum Jewellery growth and take the platinum business to newer levels. With the growing desire for Platinum and becoming a choice of consumers to celebrate every important occasion of their life, we see a bigger opportunity for Platinum Jewellery in the near future. Platinum Jewellery also helps us to connect with younger consumers shopping in-store and build our bottom-line which is important for every business and position ourselves stronger among the competition.” says Mr. Rajesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers.
Darpan Anand, Managing Director, Punjab Jewels says: “We at Punjab Jewels are always committed to offer the best of the best to our customer be it product design, quality, in-store experience and all this at value for money. So platinum was an obvious choice from 2010 onwards. We first tested the potential for platinum jewellery in our stores with few rings, pendants, and earrings and now have dedicated Platinum zones in all our showrooms offering our consumers one of the widest ranges in Platinum jewellery in Central India. Albeit a small base, we have witnessed a high double-digit growth year on year in the last 4-5 years. We believe there is a huge potential in this category for the long term and will continue to invest in it.”
"We saw an opportunity to engage the young generation with platinum jewellery as well as build differentiation for our stores from the competition as we were the early adopters of platinum in East India since 2004. From just three stores carrying platinum jewellery until 2012 today, we have platinum across all our 105 stores including the franchise stores. In the smaller cities, over the last 3-4 years, the aspirational value associated with the brands Senco and platinum triggered a significant demand for platinum. Moreover, the selling point of the product was the affordability of a 'rare metal' with a 'story behind the design' that appealed to all the customers- young and old across cities. Men's platinum jewellery has also been a key product line that helped diversify our reach beyond women and girls as a customer base. On the whole, I would like to say that the growth has been steady and consistent, yes, it took some time but the end result has been encouraging in terms of both demand and customer satisfaction. We see an even bigger opportunity with platinum in the coming years." says Suvankar Sen, Executive Director, SENCO GOLD & DIAMONDS.