The term “commodity” is supposed to refer to goods that are generally indistinguishable from one another.
The iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy are both phones. But very different from each other, thus creating very different reactions among the people who might buy them. By contrast, a barrel of oil is a barrel of oil. No matter who produced it, or how.
But the silver market is seeing an interesting wrinkle. A new source of supply that might have “brand appeal”.
British jewellery supplier Cookson Gold recently launched its new “Ecosilver”. The product is made from 100% scrap silver recycled from industrial sources.
Cookson is marketing Ecosilver grains, sheets and wire to jewellery makers. The stated idea being to target “environmentally aware” consumers.
Regardless of how you feel about the environmental impacts of mining, it’s obvious this Ecosilver marketing could find an audience (only time will tell of course). Jewellers and jewellery-buyers could make a switch. Ushering in a new age where branding makes a difference–even for commodities.
In such an environment, it would make sense for miners to also get on the front line with consumers. Nothing builds trust like having people see your name and get to know you.
Companies like platinum miner Lonmin have been doing just this. Lonmin has been sponsoring a platinum jewellery design contest for over a decade. Getting the company’s name in front of thousands of jewellers who are potential customers for the metal.
In an age where people increasingly want to feel good about what they buy, this makes sense. Maybe it’s time for the silver producers to do likewise.