Trust, confidence, and customer reassurance. Three key benefits that last year’s four successful Hallmarking Awareness and Learning Online (HALO) Award winners believe make promoting hallmarking important to their business. Adding value by linking into the long-established history of hallmarking was also cited as a selling point.
The HALO Award is the product of a partnership between the British Hallmarking Council (BHC) and the NAJ to recognise excellence in the promotion of Hallmarking online. The successful entrants in 2022 were very different businesses, demonstrating the importance of hallmarking across all retail jewellery sectors.
Outright winners www.jewellerybox.co.uk and Serge DeNimes, who achieved a “Special Recognition” award are both online-only retailers relying mainly on digital promotional activity to attract customers. The two “Highly Commended” jewellers have a combination of High Street stores, design and manufacture and online retail. Bespoke jeweller Harriet Kelsall has four High Street studios and shops plus a strong online offering while CW Sellors have seventeen retail stores, high profile online presence and a significant manufacturing division which supplies not only their own stores but other retailers both inside and outside the UK.
Given this diversity and their very different target markets, the four winners use media appropriate to their audiences to educate customers and promote hallmarking. Between them all media are covered. jewellerybox created a simple TikTok video to appeal to younger customers alongside a more traditional PR campaign and an online quiz promoted across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Serge DeNimes are strong on Instagram and every hallmarked item on their website has a link to hallmarking information. Meanwhile Harriet Kelsall includes articles and many other references to the hallmark symbols on their website and work closely with the Assay Office, sharing and reposting hallmarking information. CW Sellors regard hallmarking as an important element of their in house designed and manufactured product range and believe the history is important too. They created a film starring a reborn “Matthew Boulton” explaining hallmarking at the current Birmingham Assay Office, which he was instrumental in founding in 1773.
These are all excellent marketing exercises but are worthless if the team at the point of sale are not equally informed about the importance of the hallmark. All the successful entrants noted the need for customer service staff to be knowledgeable and understand the meaning and importance of the hallmark.
The objective of the HALO Award initiative is to incentivise online jewellers to review the messages they are delivering regarding hallmarking. It is encouraging that the winners all responded to this prompt in 2022. Hallmarking information can easily be lost in the noise of branding, design, value, and great customer experience. The winning entries all indicate businesses stepping back, taking a fresh look at their information, and building further on what is there. Harriet Kelsall sums it up saying “When we entered the HALO Award it made us consciously review our practice and see what more we could do.” Alex McMillan of outright winner www.jewellerybox.co.uk commented that “entering the competition was great as it challenged us to update all our educational content and think of engaging and fun ways to educate our customers. This content lives on, helping our customers long after the competition.”
Hallmarking is a valuable asset to all UK businesses selling fine jewellery and especially to those competing online in a relatively unregulated global market. Catherine Darcy of Serge DeNimes says “Customers want to know they are getting good value for money. To be able to show them a trusted hallmark that guarantees the material is great and separates us from others in the industry.” All jewellers are encouraged to review their hallmarking information regularly to be sure it is adding the trust, confidence, and reassurance that HALO winners believe in. The Coronation Mark offers a particularly strong reason to highlight this historic practice in 2023. Martyn Wright of CW Sellors sees the hallmark as an important asset, remarking “We are proud of our British hallmark which builds trust and integrity. Our ‘Hallmark Collection’ features the mark as an element of the design. This is an excellent platform to highlight the hallmark and engage customers in its story.”
As a reminder, the judges are looking for evidence of positive digital marketing and communication surrounding hallmarking online. This could include links to hallmarking information or mentions of the hallmark in product listings and descriptions, integrating hallmarking information within the customer’s online journey and clear explanations relating to precious metal terminology such as carats and fineness. Winners in 2022 demonstrated how these could be successfully woven into their online information regardless of the style of business. The competition is supported by the NAJ but all jewellers retailing online are encouraged to take part.
Entering the HALO Award 2023 is simple. There’s just over two weeks until the closing date on Friday 8th September. Visit www.naj.co.uk/halo for more information and to enter online.