Tiffany & Co. has been beaten up pretty badly over the last decade. The company’s growth and earnings aren’t keeping up with the competition and customer sentiment is waning. Is Lady Gaga the cure? Tiffany is know for classic designs, beautiful packaging and exceptional quality. Great service and a dependable customer experience have made the brand iconic. But tried and true doesn’t ensure the kind of loyalty with new generations that it did with previous ones. Younger consumers that used to snap up the brand’s sterling silver high margin items just aren’t as interested in the same old classic designs anymore.
Enter Lady Gaga.
This week Tiffany & Co announced that it is partnering with the entertainer to launch a new line that will be advertised during the Superbowl. That’s certainly not the spokesperson or crowd you’d imagine Tiffany taking on! Lady Gaga isn’t always know for classic or class. But in an age where competition for jewelry revenue isn’t just between jewelry retailers but also with electronics and experiences, something’s gotta give.
The company is also taking a major departure from its past by entering the fashion jewelry market. There is certainly money to be made in that category; contemporary brands like Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs derive significant portions of revenue through fashion jewelry. However, “fake” and “faux” aren’t synonymous with the Tiffany we know, and Lady Gaga’s shock value could be as shocking to purists as the base metals and synthetic stones in the collection.
Is she the right face to lead Tiffany through that kind of transition? Maybe. If Tiffany intends to woo back millennial clientele, using a familiar face might ease the translation. And who knows if it will be a success, it’s not the first time a major brand has stepped down-market. And lower margins on more product can still mean more earnings. Lady Gaga and the new fashion jewelry line may be a touchdown. One thing we do know for sure: this is not your mother’s Tiffany.