Every winter-linked business should pay attention to the example Tiffany’s gives….and the lessons the company has learned.
Tiffany’s jewelry company may be one of the most well-known winter-linked luxury businesses easily identified the world over.
That “Tiffany blue” box is recognizable by nearly everyone in the Western world. The company has held the title of “being first” in so many ways.
The first to have an air conditioned store.
The first to mail out full color brochures.
The first jewelry company to design the logo for the New York Yankees.
A brief review: The company was started in the late 1800’s with a clear focus on luxury goods and diamond jewelry. It went through the downturns of the World War One and World War Two and the depression, going through difficult times, but managing not only to hang on, but continue to pay out a dividend to stock holders.
It wasn’t the Great Depression that almost took out Tiffany’s.
There are principles each of the four seasonal-linked business must follow to last and keep making a profit. Each seasonal archetype has a different set of values that set it apart and attract the best clients to it.
Keep Doing What You’re Known (and loved) for!
One of the lessons Tiffany’s teaches us is the importance of sticking with what you’re good at. They began to lose their footing when the leaders tried to appeal to more people by introducing more lower-cost items into their catalog and stores.
In 1978, Tiffany & Co was sold to Avon. Instead of continuing to market Tiffany’s has a luxury company, they introduced hundreds of lower cost items to the Tiffany & Co. brand. Instead of people buying more, it ended up being somewhat of a turnoff.
Why? Because winter-linked business who specialize in high craftsmanship, luxury goods and services maintain their integrity and branding by continuing to create high end goods and services.
If you’re a winter-linked business, the worst thing you can do is try to appeal to everyone and cut prices. The very people who want your products and services will have the impression that there is a lack in quality and go away.
The second problem Tiffany & Co’s faced was a decrease in customer service. Tiffany’s was known for knowing their repeat customer’s name and delivering impeccable service. But the emphasis on customer service started to slip and people started to complain. (You can find more about the struggles of Tiffany’s in this report from Funding Universe).
With the cheapening of the brand due to too many inexpensive products and poor customer care, revenues dipped sharply.
In every business, we’ve got to answer the one question: are we delighting our customers? Are we improving their lives?
Every business, no matter what your seasonal archetype, if we keep improving the lives of our customers, we will gain traction, increase referrals and benefit from repeat, happy customers.
Start by pleasing the customers you have, that core base of people who were first attracted to you and wanted what you offered.
Third, it appears Tiffany, in trying to innovate and change, moved away from their authentic self. The timeless leader who designed jewels for queens and luxury china for First Ladies, moved away from being the leader in their industry.
Originally, they led the torch for innovative marketing (full color brochures) and delighting customers (luxurious stores, diamond specialists). In their earliest days, in the 1840’s, they had the widest selection of fine stationary in New York. Part of Tiffany’s allure is being the leader in their industry.
Yet when they stopped focusing on what made them unique and desirable to their customers, their image and influence started to slip.
Now For You
As we translate this to your business……do you think you might have a business with a dominant winter-linked personality?
If so, are you in danger of making the mistakes Tiffany & Co. made?
Do the following values reflect the primary values of your business? Are you a leader in your field (or aspire to be). Is that an important part of the way people see you- as a leader, a trend setter, an influential presence in the field or industry.
Consider these questions to determine if you’re a winter-personality business:
-Am I a leader (or aspiring) leader in my niche or field?
-Do people seek me out to see what I’m doing? Do others look up to me to set the trends or guidelines?
-Is my business have a confidence that others are drawn to?
-Is there an element of glamour or mystery to the business?
-Am I constantly striving to be better at my craft, my art, the expertise I’m known for?
-Do I follow my own path or am I constantly swayed by external influences?
-Does my business put a high value (very high) on exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail?
-Does the phrase “done is better than perfect” make me cringe?
-Am I okay with higher prices, knowing products and services will be for a more limited people group?
-Would I like to sell more high priced items to less people……should there be a premium on your work and are okay with only serving a limited number of people?
Consider your answers to these questions. If you self-identify on a winter-linked business, what needs to be changed in your style and your outreach to communicate more of who you are?
Are you doing something that is a deterrent to attracting the right clients (offering too many products, trying to please everyone, using warm colors in your palette, not sharing your expertise with your audience).
Check out the previous post for a broader description of the color and design elements best suited for a winter-linked business.
Tiffany & Co. made a comeback when they were bought back from Avon and again went public. They took a new turn, choosing to expand into Japan, which turned out to be a stellar move, going back to their base of quality jewelry and luxury products. With a new vision and leadership, once again they experimented in more ‘affordable’ jewelry, but this time with a focus on engagement rings, a product the company is known world-over for.
Remember, always go back to the dominant values of your business. It’s what makes you stand out and what attracts your best clients to you in the first place.
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