Tiffany Co shows the value of brand – and then take it too far.

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The web is ablaze with ‘social commentary’ on Tiffany’s ‘Everyday Object Collection’.

At first sight the US$1500 Tiffany 18k gold paperclip is a brilliant example of the power of brand. After-all, anyone can head down to the local stationery store and pick-up a regular gold paperclip for $2.77 – and that’s for 150 of the little suckers.

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But of course this is not about paperclips.

As with any ‘fashion’ brand, the challenge for Tiffany is to keep their collections fresh with new ideas and innovations. The sweet spot is a collection theme that captures interest, stands-out from the competition and matches the brand signature ethos. Unfortunately for Tiffany, they misread the tea leaves on this one. It turns out that recreating every day objects such as paperclips and tin cans in sterling silver and 18k gold is less clever ironic and more taking the piss. And the world of social has not held back with their thoughts:

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Over recent years we’ve seen Tiffany strategically shift product and price upwards to strengthen the brand relationship with their traditional core customer. This has had the unintended impact of telling an audience ‘we are a brand for you’ and then ‘we are no longer a brand for you’. Branding is all about relationships and relationships with brands need to be based on respect, just as they are with people. Whilst I understand the strategic adjustment to their customer focus, I wonder whether there is now a level of disenchantment or even resentment towards the Tiffany brand that may have boiled over to create this current social storm. On the other hand, this may just be a regular ‘whack’ brands get when they inadvertently set themselves up for a fall.

Dave Ansett
David is the founder of Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. David has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food & beverage and entrepreneurial clients. Find out more here
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Photos from Tiffany & Social

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