Laurence Graff, known as “The King of Diamonds,” founded the House of Graff in London, and the company now has 12 stores across the globe, as well as store-within-stores at select Saks 5th Avenue locations. Graff is a vertically integrated company and is involved in every step of its jewelry production from design concept to final sale. Graff sources its diamonds from mines around the world and has a team of over 300 professional artisans cutting and polishing hundreds of diamonds of various shapes and sizes each year. Famous diamonds cut by Graff include the 137.8 carat Paragon and the 40 carat Sun King. Graff recently made the historic purchase of the Lesotho Promise for $12.4 million. At 603 carats, it is the biggest diamond found in 13 years.
Case Study Concept and Design, Business and Marketing Plan Solution
The students’ were asked to create a watch line that would live up to Graff’s brand essence while delivering everything that the Graff consumer wants and values. Through analysis of Graff’s brand equity and capabilities, and analysis of the luxury watch market as a whole, the students determined that entering the watch market would be a lucrative strategic move for the company. The one caveat was that the end product would have to be both original and iconic.
The students’ design concept revolved around the Graff consumer: she demands exclusivity, originality, and superior quality. They incorporated the end wearer into the jewelry design, keeping in mind the idea that Graff doesn’t wear you, but rather you wear Graff. Owning a piece of jewelry from Graff is owning something unique and individual, so this fed into our unique and individual designs.
The launch of the watch is to be in three phases, with an initial signature “How long must I wait for you” marketing theme. Essentially, the first phase would include a very limited edition $1 million watch for women only, initially offered exclusively to current Graff customers. The second and third phases would introduce two new lines at $250 thousand and $100 thousand price points for both men and women, to be sold initially solely in Graff stores and then later in the timeline in Saks stores as well.
The objective of this phased approach is twofold: to generate anticipation, excitement and buzz for the product, and also to slowly build a broader Graff customer base. Marketing would include a major PR-generating event to be held in New York before the launch of the first line of watches, as well as mini launches held in Graff and Saks stores as the new lines were introduced. Print ads would run throughout in magazines such as W and Departures.
This project was a true learning experience for both sets of students: from learning how to translate a client’s needs and desires into a cohesive strategy, to realizing the value of blending the different skill sets each school brought to the table; Parsons’ creativity with Columbia Business School’s analytics.
The Graff Project Team
Halina Avery, Columbia Business School
Michael Dwork, Columbia Business School
Vessela Genova, Columbia Business School
Meredith Gordon, Columbia Business School
Georgios Zervakis, Columbia Business School
Shireen Emami, Parsons The New School for Design
Vivian Lam, Parsons The New School for Design
Michael Hoefler, Parsons The New School for Design