The fact that a glimpse of a robin-blue hue is enough to get hearts racing is perhaps a testament to the sheer power of the Tiffany & Co brand.

Known for introducing the world to the first diamond engagement ring and its connections with legends like Elsa Peretti and Paloma Picasso, Tiffany is a true gem in the world of jewelry—one whose name conjures up associations of love, romance—and luxury.

For students to be working with a brand like Tiffany & Co. is, therefore, a privilege and one that MSc Marketing Management and Digital (MMD) students at ESSEC Asia-Pacific have, thanks to the efforts of Sonja Prokopec, LVMH Chaired Professor.

Learning-by-doing in the World of Luxury

Prokopec advocates for giving her Luxury Brand Management module students an opportunity to exercise their skills in the real world. In past years, she has engineered opportunities for them to work with the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), Benefit Cosmetics, a subsidiary of LVMH, local Singapore jewelry brand Carrie K, and more.

This year’s collaboration with Tiffany & Co. is similar. Students work on one of two projects. The first is to develop a strategy that can enable Tiffany to retain its position as the top luxury jewelry brand in the minds of consumers, and the second is an operational one focusing on the bridal products in key markets of Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

“These are different marketing problems, but all within the realm of the training the students have gotten in the MMD program,” Prokopec shares, adding that, as in past projects, students will similarly need to integrate the online and offline worlds when creating their strategies.

“The offline component is essential in premium and luxury environments,” she explains. “You can play with new technologies, but the physical element is key for the brand storytelling to have an impact.”

Qualities of a Diamond Strategy

Having coached the students through the process, Prokopec’s hopes are high that students can deliver valuable and relevant strategies to Tiffany.

Still, the stakes are high, and only two of the nine teams will be chosen to present their ideas at the Tiffany & Co. Singapore headquarters on 14 April—a rare opportunity for them to receive industry expert feedback and hopefully make a lasting mark on the brand.

“The key word is consistency,” Prokopec declares, which is what she looks for in an outstanding entry. To impress the judges, students must go beyond innovation and creativity—they must also ensure these ideas stem from a foundation of rigorous research and demonstrate attention to detail in the implementation plan.

Will the students deliver? Find out in the second part of the story.