October 16, 2018
CIBJO Pearl Commission, which met on the second day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress, took a slightly different track this year, spending a major part of the session considering means of marketing pearl education, particular via the social media.
Pearl Commission President Ken Scarratt introduced the team from the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA), which is now a CIBJO member. Kevin Cannon, head of digital marketing for the CPAA, who helped build the CPAA’s Pearls as One course to cover all major cultured pearl types, gave a review of its comprehensive online course.
The aim was to include a great deal of diverse material, he said. This includes an hour of high-quality video. The course aims to be fully interactive, with comments and questions. He said that over 29,000 comments have been posted so far on the course’s online board, and instructors provide answers where questions are asked.
Every CPAA member can get a sponsorship code to pass on to clients so that they also can do the course to learn how to buy and sell pearls confidently.
The CPAA has partnered with trade and industry groups from across the world, Mr. Cannon said.
He also provided information on the CPAA’s digital marketing strategy using Facebook in particular, but also Instagram. He described the results of a single advert which was seen by 1.7 million people, with 50,000 clicks, 3,000 shares and more than 800 comments.
“Facebook allows us to target people from many perspectives and to target potential clients. We can target very precisely unlike with traditional advertising,” he stated.
He also spoke about the difference between trade members and consumers doing the course. Among consumers, the completion rate is lower because they don’t necessarily want the certificate to show completion of the course, but rather the information that is available.
The CPAA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Heebner, said that pearls only comprise 3 percent of jewelry sales, but we see that there is huge demand for them. “We aim to be the authoritative voice of cultured pearls. We are going to align our course with CIBJO’s Blue Book on Pearls,” she said.
Mr. Scarratt said that he had been impressed with the way the CPAA has delivered its message. “The data you are getting will help us to understand the overall market,” he commented.
On other issues, the Commission heard that there has been no update on the issue of misleading terminology being used by some Chinese cultured pearl companies. Nonetheless, the issue is being forwarded to Sector A for further discussion.
On the subject of the Japanese Pearl Standard presented at last year’s Congress, it is still incomplete and not approved yet in Japan. When they have a final document, they will come back to us, Mr. Scarratt said.
Talking about the Do’s and Do Not’s guide for retailers, Mr. Scarratt commented that it is not a replacement for the Blue Book, but gives a review of what people who trade in pearls should and shouldn’t do and there is a table format at the end regarding treatments.
The Blue Pledge project, which aims to protect and defend the quality of water and the ocean environment in the Pacific region, was also discussed.