Stand behind your mission statement and ensure the team you build stands behind it too. The entire reason I got into the diamond and jewelry business was to create a buying experience that put educating its clients first. 6 years later I am continuously coming back to that. There isn’t a single client that comes into our office that sits with me or one of my employees that doesn’t get the most honest diamond education out there. This is what makes us successful, no matter how much we grow, we always come back to where it all began…honesty.
As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Kaeleigh Testwuide of The Diamond Reserve.
After working for a few other brokerage firms in the diamond and fine jewelry industry, Kaeleigh began to realize how important it was for each and every client to receive a full education on the Four C’s and a few other do’s and don’ts prior to making a purchase and designing a dream ring. She had also noticed the need for a private diamond buying experience here in Denver, Colorado and made it her mission to make that dream come true! In 2015, Kaeleigh purchased and re-branded The Diamond Reserve, making it her priority to thoroughly educate every client and make the entire purchasing process accessible and seamless for everyone involved. This entire process should be enjoyable and memorable, as this is such a monumental time for the clients and The Diamond Reserve takes pride in being part of these special moments. Kaeleigh prides herself in providing an honest, transparent interaction for each client and takes joy in personally hand-selecting each and every diamond she sells; ensuring that The Diamond Reserve showcases the finest selection of loose-leaf GIA-certified diamonds. Kaeleigh believes that each client deserves one-on-one, white glove service, no matter how simple or extravagant the ring may be.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In 2015, I was hired to manage the brand The Diamond Reserve. At the time, The Diamond was a marketing company. The Diamond Reserve would generate leads of those looking for engagement rings and diamond jewelry, and from there, the lead was handed off to a jeweler. When managing the brand, I worked directly out of the jeweler’s office in which the leads were sent to. Very quickly, I picked up on what some would consider unethical sales tactics. I became very inspired to create a diamond buying experience that put education and honesty first and foremost. After about 6 months of managing the brand, I inquired to purchase the marketing company. Once I became the owner of The Diamond Reserve, I rebranded it with a mission to educate each and every client. After about two years of owning the marketing brand, I then founded DR Capital and began directly buying and selling diamonds, gold, gemstones, and manufacturing fine diamond jewelry.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first got started in this business, I at times was scared to try new marketing avenues and was intimidated by ad spends. I made the silly mistake of not fully understanding that it costs money to make money. It took me time to get over my fears, and now, I feel as though I am in a place where I am more open to more marketing avenues as well as testing out bigger ad spends and what can happen as a result from going outside of my comfort zone.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are three main things that I believe make our company stand out from the rest. The diamond industry is male dominated, and we are female owned and operated. This alone makes us stand out in the diamond and jewelry industry. Typically, being in the diamond trade business is multi generational. I am the first person in my family to break into this unique and exciting industry. What I think is the most exciting thing about our company is that not only are all our engagement rings and wedding bands made in the USA, but they are all handmade with love right here in Denver, Colorado!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We recently just launched our e-commerce site! This is a big deal for us and it’s all very scary and intimidating, but also very exciting. When we first launched, it was a little slow the first few weeks, but now we are selling something everyday all across the country. In early 2021, we are also launching our first e-commerce social media advertising campaigns. This will allow our clients and followers to shop our products with the click of a button!
Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
I look at brand marketing as creating awareness of your brand to someone who might not necessarily be in the exact moment to make a purchase. But, when they are ready in the future, they will think of your brand. Branding is actively looking to the future. It is the top of the sales funnel. Product marketing is going after the here and now consumer: someone actively seeking whatever it is you sell. This is the bottom of the marketing funnel — this is your sale!
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
When you own a business, you have to establish its identity. The only way to do this is by investing in your brand. Developing a brand goes right down to the little details such as what font you send your emails in and what colors will people associate and identify your brand with. When starting a brand, you should first invest in developing its logo, tagline, colors, fonts, etc. This is the first step in creating something people will start to recognize and resonate with. When someone truly resonates with a brand, when their time comes to make a decision in either a purchase or a service, you want your brand to come to mind. Overall, you want your brand to be relatable to the target audience.
Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.
- Stand behind your mission statement and ensure the team you build stands behind it too. The entire reason I got into the diamond and jewelry business was to create a buying experience that put educating its clients first. 6 years later I am continuously coming back to that. There isn’t a single client that comes into our office that sits with me or one of my employees that doesn’t get the most honest diamond education out there. This is what makes us successful, no matter how much we grow, we always come back to where it all began…honesty.
- Collect reviews. Our team is constantly reaching out to our clients and asking them to review us on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other platforms. When someone searches for our brand they are able to read about real customer experiences and are able to hear about the kind of service we provide. This creates trust before they even walk in the door.
- Invest in an Instagram page. We are living in a digital world where people use Instagram every single day and use it to validate brands. Invest in your photography and invest your time in creating a page that is aesthetically pleasing. Spend time daily interacting with your target audience and people in your community. We have clients come in daily saying that their significant other follows us on Instagram and is in love with our work and told them they have to get their engagement ring from The Diamond Reserve.
- Be active in your community. Find a charity that you believe in and sponsor one of its events. I did a lot of charity work in early 2020 and didn’t know it at the time, but it created a lot of trust with my brand on social media platforms. I had influencers reaching out to work with us because of it and when we launched e-commerce, so many knew what kind of brand we are and that we love to give back. This made them want to support us. The important part about this is to do it from your heart. If you can’t donate money, donate time.
- Invest in your brands searchability on google, especially if you are a local business. Also known as SEO (search engine optimization). When people are looking for a product or service they need, one of the first places they go to is Google. Make sure they can find you and make sure your website is professional, on brand, and easy to navigate. We always ask our clients how they found us. Not a day goes by where someone doesn’t say a Google search brought them to us.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
A brand that inspires me as a small business owner is Peloton. Peloton has built a line of incredible products. Their products are all on brand, their employees emit their brand’s mission, and they are constantly striving to be competitive in their space and provide their customers with an incredible brand experience. What specifically impresses me is that they consistently put out content that makes their clients feel as though the trainer is right there with them, speaking directly to them, and committed to making each and every person on their platform feel as though they are the center of attention while pushing them to limits they had not known possible. I think what brands can do to replicate this is by believing in their brand’s mission and creating a team that lives and breathes that mission, too.
In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?
Measuring your branding campaigns success is not done by direct sales. I think measuring its success is done in many different ways. A few of those ways are: who is tagging you on social media? What social media influencers are reaching out to your brand and wanting to be part of it? Who is talking about your brand? What is your website traffic like and how long you are keeping people on pages before they leave? By tracking your findability organically on Google for search terms that relate to your products and lastly, tracking referrals. Brand awareness does not happen overnight and neither does brand development; It takes time, patience, and consistency.
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
We sell products on social media every day and we have clients come in every day telling us about how much they love our Instagram handle! Having clean social media pages that are on brand and that you post on consistently creates trust with your followers as well as with those you are targeting in paid advertising efforts. Instagram Shop is a game changer for anyone selling e-commerce. This outlet allows consumers to find your products in just one click or swipe when visiting your page. Although Instagram and other social media outlets can be frustrating at times, they are such important tools for anyone in sales. I look at my brand pages as essentially free marketing and paid advertising on these social platforms as the icing on the cake.
What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
My advice would be to pace yourself. No great brand happens over night. A great brand takes time to develop. The most important thing is to have is a brand mission — one that clearly states why and how you plan to serve your customers. A brand mission can develop and change over time as it matures, but if you stick to your mission, you will find success.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I was a person of great influence, I would ask everyone in the United States for just one day to not buy coffee and to instead donate that money to St. Jude for childhood cancer research. In just one day in the United States, people spend more money on coffee at Starbucks than what is raised in an entire year for childhood cancer research. One day could make a really big difference in so many people’s lives.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
― Robert Frost
As a woman in business, leadership, and in the diamond industry, there have been many times I have been told I couldn’t, I wouldn’t, or how I should be doing things. I have paved my way thus far, and I will continue to do it my way. People in the diamond industry are always telling me, “…that’s not how it’s done in the industry.” I always tell them, “…well looks like we are going to change how it has always been done.” Each day I define myself as not only a newcomer, but a woman in the diamond industry.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would like to meet Chad Pike, preferably for lunch at one of his Eleven Experience lodges.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.