Friday, June 25, 2021

De Beers looks to innovation to boost growth

In light of the volatility in the global market, diamond market giants, De Beers are turning to innovation in order to survive the current turmoil.

Paul Rowley, De Beers’ Executive Vice President for Global sightholder sales engaged business journalists recently to shed more light on the new development. This begs the question: how can an organisation such as De Beers, with a firmly rooted business model that spawns over decades begin to carve a new footing in the new global market.

Currently, Facebook, Apple and Google whose revolutionary inventions have woven a new strand of growth which is disruptive, exponential and agile are doing well in the innovation arena. In light of this dynamic environment, organizations such as De Beers are positioning themselves into the “business of tomorrow”.

Explaining to Sunday Standard where De Beers’ place is in this new market, Rowley recognised that organisations that entered the market 5 or 10 years ago brought to the table energy, excitement and technological innovation. This has allowed such companies to create market space and take a slice of the consumers’ wallet. However, the differentiating factor is the experience offered to consumers. In that regard, he pointed out lessons which De Beers has gleaned from such organisations: “We’ll compete for the share of the wallet but we don’t compete for an experience on the purchase. What we’ve got to ensure is that we are making an experience of purchasing a diamond piece of jewellery more exciting, more relevant to the consumer of tomorrow. We have to market and we have to grow consumer demand.”

In describing the nature of growth that De Beers wants to achieve, Rowley expounded that “I don’t think we are looking for exponential growth. What we are looking for is good steady returns. What we don’t want is volatility, what we want is some predictability and sustainability of long term growth. We’ll die out some of the volatility by being more agile and understanding our market place better.”

Sunday Standard asked Rowley what De Beers has had to change from its traditional business model to which he responded “what we’ve done in the last couple of years is undo an awfully lot of things.” He highlighted that they’ve had among other things ensured that they’re open to much greater discussions with customers, become a lot more transparent, tested different selling models and also offer differentiated contracts. “We are far more open, far more open to change, far more assertive in that change, we’re much quicker to do it and that’s the difference in De Beers today,” he said. 

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