Over the last decade, the Western world learned about the dark side of the diamond industry: so-called conflict, or blood, diamonds produced in Africa that were illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas, or made using slave labor. While the wars in Angola and Sierra Leone that conflict diamonds helped support are over, such diamonds are still making their way into the international diamond trade in Africa, according to Amnesty International.
It's thus crucial for diamond brands to prove that their diamonds are responsibly sourced and conflict free. Forevermark is launching a content marketing campaign with travel magazine AFAR to do just that.
Forevermark's responsible diamond sourcing practices are based on pipeline integrity (meaning diamonds are conflict free), empowerment of women and protecting the environment and conservation, said Colby Shergalis, vp of marketing and communications at Forevermark. "We make sure that our diamond production gives back to the countries in which they're mined."
The campaign's content—including a series of articles on AFAR's travel blog and two new content areas on AFAR's website, Traveling for Good and a Destination Guide to Southern Africa—will promote awareness of what responsible sourcing means, what the impact on the local community is, and how to shop for and choose a diamond. It highlights Forevermark's efforts to provide responsibly sourced diamonds from communities in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.
AFAR's audience is both socially conscious and affluent, with an average annual household income of just over $300,000, making them an ideal target for Forevermark's messaging, said Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, CRO at AFAR. "We have an audience that travels 30 times a year, and they've either been to Africa or want to go."
Forevermark's consumers are also interested in travel, Shergalis said. "We wanted to look at the travel industry as a way to meet our audience, and we're a luxury brand, so we also wanted to make sure we were reaching an affluent audience."
Forevermark began its responsibly sourced messaging last year with a series of videos, including Behind the Lens, where photographer Annie Griffiths describes her experiences photographing wildlife and diamonds in Africa.
"The video really captured how diamonds are connected to local communities in Africa. The partnership with AFAR is about bringing attention to that video and bringing our responsible sourcing message to life," Shergalis said. "The content really shows our efforts to empower women and protect nature."
The issue of responsible sourcing also has become more important for diamond consumers, in general, she added. "Our research has shown that people are willing to seek out brands that source products responsibly, and they're willing to pay a premium for them."