October 15, 2015
Case Study

Inbound Marketing: Family-owned business competes with industry leaders through Vine campaign

SUMMARY: "I would say 10 viewings of one Vine is more impactful than one 60-second commercial," Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, said.

The Brian Gavin team had a challenge — how could the mid-sized, family-owned company compete with the large budgets of its industry competitors? To solve this problem, the company embraced social media and launched a weekly Vine campaign. Learn how this effort resulted in engaging with an estimated 1.63 million viewers and being featured in a major industry publication.
by Kayla Cobb, Reporter


Brian Gavin Diamonds is a self-funded custom jeweler and diamond retailer, according to Danny Gavin. The engagement ring market is the company's biggest source of income, but it also provides customers with other jewelry options, including settings and loose stones.

"We're here to really provide people with a personalized experience and assist with making the special event at the beginning of their lives the best experience possible," Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, said.

A large portion of the company's profits come from ecommerce-related transactions. Gavin estimated that the company does 95 percent or more of its business online, with the rest of the business coming from Brian Gavin's showroom in Houston, Texas. Some consumers even view the product they want online and travel in-person to the company's showroom.

Gavin identifies the company's typical customer to be someone between 25 and 40 years old without a remarkable push toward a specific gender. Customers also tend to be higher educated.

"You could say that in general people online are more educated," he said. "Especially for the types of products that we sell, we find that they appeal more to people on the higher educated side of the spectrum."

"We are a family business, so [at] the end of the day, it's about providing a great workplace for not just our family but also our employees who are like our family," he said.


Being a family owned and operated company, Brian Gavin Diamonds is always searching for innovative ways to compete with the large-scale budgets of its competitors.

"We're always thinking of ways to get out there and make a difference," Gavin said. "We're not like a lot of our competitors who just do the same thing over and over again."

This focus on creative thinking previously led to one of Brian Gavin's largest triumphs — the Brian Gavin Blue.

Some diamonds exhibit a natural fluorescence that makes them appear to "glow" blue in certain lighting, such as night clubs. This is largely seen as a jewel imperfection by the industry, but Brian Gavin saw these supposedly imperfect diamonds as a potential expansion of its product line.

"In the market, these stones have a bad rap. However I can get you a bright and beautiful stone that also has this really cool unique feature where it will fluoresce under certain lighting conditions and actually provide this stone to you at a lower cost because the market considers them cheaper," Gavin explained.

"We totally disrupted the market. Here you have something for years which was horrible, and we turned it around and made it one of our competitive advantages," he said.

With this focus on innovation in place, Gavin and his team set to work determining how they could differentiate Brian Gavin from the company's competitors.

"The question was 'how can we find a cost-effective method to compete with our established online and local competitors through the use of social media that would establish our brand identity, increase website traffic and obviously increase sales?'" he said.


Gavin noticed that few names in the jewel sales industry were really embracing social and saw this platform as a potential way to differentiate itself in the industry.

The team's solution was to create and implement a Vine-focused social campaign. This campaign would feature a flexible editorial calendar, allowing the team to capitalize on timely and relevant events on a weekly basis.

Learn how this social effort resulted in a Vine loop count of 6.5 million loops for Brian Gavin Diamond's account and connected the brand to an estimated 1.63 million consumers.

Step #1. Develop social campaign

"No big diamond brands actually took this medium, jumped on it and did something cool with it," Gavin said.

This lack of industry competition in the widely-used social space encouraged the team to look into a social marketing approach, focusing primarily on Vine. At the time of the campaign's creation, Vine was an up-and-coming addition to the social media realm.

Fortunately, timing worked to the team's benefit. Around the same time this campaign was decided upon, Brian Gavin's agency established a relationship with two creators who specialized in short form video content and were based in Texas.

"These two guys were named among the top ten Viners in the world," Gavin said.

The benefits of Vine

Vine is a social network that is popular on mobile. Ultimately, it is a video sharing app, but Vine videos can only total six seconds and play on a continuous loop. Vine videos can also be embedded on Twitter, which owns the service, or on a webpage.

One of the main reasons why Vine was specifically chosen for this campaign was because it was new in the social media space, allowing marketing posts to stand out even more. Also, the platform as a whole encourages sharing content, which can help get a company's message in front of a large number of eyes.

Step #2. Collaborate with creators

According to Gavin, the level of collaboration between the Brian Gavin Diamonds team and the two Viners would vary from post to post. Through this process, the marketing team and the creative duo were able to post both seasonal and promotion-centric videos.

"I would say some times it was like 'Go ahead and run with it guys,' but in other scenarios it was more like, 'Hey, let's sit down and talk about this. This is what we could tweak. This is how we think it could work,'" Gavin explained.

This collaborative effort was especially important for Brian Gavin's first post, which went live on June 30, 2014 and celebrated the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

"The nice thing is we're subtly showing the brand but we're not shoving it in your face, and that's kind of what you have to do on social," Gavin said.

The products were shown off in the six second videos, he added, saying, "If you would add all the diamonds together in there, you're talking about more than a million dollars' worth of diamonds."

Gavin explained that working so closely with the creative team was a positive aspect of this campaign and that Brian Gavin, CEO, was highly involved with providing input into the execution of the creative process.

"We come from a very artistic family, so creativity runs through our veins," he added.

Step #3. Develop a flexible calendar

The time-relevant nature of Vine encouraged Gavin and his team to implement a flexible editorial calendar. Vines were released on a weekly basis and often incorporated holidays and Brian Gavin promotions.

"Obviously costs are involved, so we couldn't do it daily, but we felt that in order to really get traction, we had to do it on a frequent basis, and we felt that once a week would be a good compromise," Gavin said.

While the team isn't necessarily doing a promotion every week, the product is rich content, and "there's so much you can share about diamonds and jewelry," he added.

Because Vine only allows a brief six seconds to engage with users and share a story, the Brian Gavin team became skilled at making every second and recorded pixel count. This attention to detail is most apparent in a post the company released to celebrate The Double Seventh Festival, which is also known as Chinese Valentine's Day.

There is a rich legend behind this holiday, and Gavin and his team tried to use as many aspects its history in their post.

"If you look closely at every single detail — the three stars, the Magpies, the people, the stars turning into a ring and the bridge — we were able to capture every detail of this lengthy story in six seconds," he said.

Step #4. Share videos through other channels

Brian Gavin Diamonds did not limit its campaign to organic Vine traffic. According to Gavin, the company worked with more than one influencer for every Vine that was produced. These partnerships helped the campaign and company gain attention in the social sphere. The team also created a strategy to share published Vine content across other communication channels.

"We didn't just keep the videos on Vine. We also published them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram," Gavin said. "The point is, try to take that same piece of content and repurpose it where possible."

For example, Brian Gavin Diamonds' Thanksgiving holiday email send incorporated the Vine video created for the holiday.

"The whole email is centered around the Vine. So yes, we are still wishing our clients a happy Thanksgiving, but it's also about, 'Check out this video,'" he said. "This is much more interactive than just your typical holiday email."


Only 6% of Brian Gavin Diamond's 2014 marketing budget was devoted to this Vine campaign, but that 6% went a long way. From this campaign Brian Gavin Diamonds achieved:


  • 6.5 million Vine loops

  • An estimated 1.63 million unique viewers (6.3 million divided by four loops per person)

Emails with Vines and Vine-related headlines

  • 23% increase in open rate (compared to average open rate)

  • 1,241% increase in clickthrough rate (compared to average clickthrough rate)

"Moving on into Q1 2015, we saw a 13% year-over-year increase over Q1 2014. We also saw a remarkable 20% increase in direct traffic during the second half of 2014 when compared to the first half of 2014," Gavin said.

He accredited the engagement of Vine and the platform's community as a main reason for the campaign's success.

"If you look at a commercial, you only see it once. But a Vine, because it's so short, you end up looking at that same video five to 10 times, which is very impactful," he said. "I would say 10 viewings of one Vine is more impactful than one 60-second commercial."

However, perhaps the most impressive result Brian Gavin Diamonds achieved had little to do with metrics. This campaign received a large amount of press attention and was even featured in a leading jewelry trade magazine. This publication, JCK, ranked Brian Gavin Diamonds No. 2 on its list of favorite jewelry promotions of 2014, right below Tiffany & Co.

View the Creative Sample

Click here to see the full version of this creative sample

"How else would you get Brian Gavin Diamonds, a medium-sized company, on the same list as Fortune 500 companies? That itself was a huge success," Gavin said.

The company was successful from many different perspectives, he added.

"We found success on the Vine platform itself, with the PR and branding of our company and then even with generating additional sales," he said. "Instead of three strikes, we hit three home runs."

When asked what advice he would give fellow marketers, Gavin encouraged professionals to utilize social media.

"A lot of companies are afraid to embrace [social media], and I think that our campaign is a good testament to the fact that what if you do embrace it and you spend a little time and some money on it, your returns will come in dividends, especially in a scenario where none of the competition is catching on," he said.

Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, will be speaking on this campaign at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, held February 22-24 in Las Vegas.

Keep reading MarketingSherpa newsletters to see case studies from other Summit speakers.

Creative Samples

  1. 4th of July Vine

  2. Chinese Valentine's Day Vine

  3. Thanksgiving Vine

  4. JCK article


Brian Gavin Diamonds

Softway Solutions

Related Resources

MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — Reserve your seat today

Social Media Marketing Chart: Engagement and reach of top eight social networks

Social Media: 3 brands that totally get using Vine [From the MarketingSherpa blog]

Social Media Marketing: Multi-tiered giveaway increases site visits 288% for Star Fine Foods

Benefits of CEO Twitter Use: Employee and customer engagement and investors' willingness to invest

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