SW24 tests national strategy in Manhattan’s Diamond District

‘Hey, you in the red tie,’ SW24 woos customers with Fusion Centre, armed guard capability, retail store and lighthearted ad campaign
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

NEW YORK—It has ambitions to become a national enterprise-level security provider, but SecureWatch 24, a full-service security company based here, also has identified a strong market in its own backyard—the roughly 3,000 high-end jewelry stores in Manhattan’s famous Diamond District.

Those 3,000 retail stores are located within a two-block area south of Rockefeller Center. That’s not far from SW24’s Fusion Centre, a 25,000-square-foot monitoring facility that, together with its guard services, earned UL certification in April.

Jay Stuck, executive VP of SW24, says the company’s foray into the Diamond District could preview the sort of strategy it plans to execute on a national level.

“What we’re going to be able to do as an alternative security provider in the jewelry district, we’re going to be able to replicate across the country in other key vertical markets that might be underserved by other security companies,” he said.

The diamond business in Manhattan is ripe for an array of security offerings beyond just video monitoring, Stuck said. While Stuck stopped short of saying business was conducted informally in the jewelry industry, he did say it was often “done by a handshake,” and that certain business practices common one hundred years ago persist into the present day.

“Everyday, there are literally millions of dollars of diamonds and gold being walked by a courier and business people up and down the streets,” he said. “The needs of this particular vertical market are very unique.”

Only now, he added, is the technology adapting to the norms of the business. Security offerings such as video escort services and video concierge services could find a valuable home in the market and become “key differentiators” for SW24, Stuck said.

It’s entirely possible, Stuck noted, for the company to monitor package deliveries at a jewelry establishment and, if the owner isn’t present, to send a jpeg or video clip to the owner informing him or her that a new box has arrived. The company can then track the concierge out of the premises.

“All this is not theoretical,” Stuck said. “All of this can be done today.”

Another feature of the company that could make it attractive to jewelry business retailers is its armed guard response services, which end users in the diamond industry regard as a key security need, Stuck noted. SW24’s armed guards, as a result, are based “smack dab in the middle of 47th street,” according to Stuck, who said this was a strategic decision designed to bolster customer satisfaction.

SW24’s presence in the Diamond District goes beyond the Fusion Center and guard response base station. Also nearby is the company’s retail store, which opened in June 2013. Originally conceived as a means of strengthening the company’s residential, consumer-play business, the retail store has instead become a kind of base camp for SW24’s vertical market push. Stuck said the retail location is ideal for putting on demos for prospective clients whose premises are in the vicinity.

To further court prospective clients in this retail hot spot, SW24 has also embarked on a tongue-in-cheek outdoor ad campaign throughout the Diamond District, placing a variety of eye-catching headlines on kiosks and bus shelters. The campaign features such headlines as “Are those shoes new?” and “Hey, you in the red tie,” and “You have a nice smile.”

Besides differentiating the company, Stuck says the campaign is intended to give a lighthearted gloss to a more serious underlying message—namely, that the company has a vast and longstanding presence in New York City, having installed more than 30,000 cameras throughout the five boroughs.

The campaign is resonating with constituents in the local jewelry market, Stuck said.

“This particular vertical has been operating in the same way with the same service providers for a very long period of time,” he said. “The feedback we’re getting is that the types of services we plan to provide, along with our advertising and our presence as an alternative, is refreshing.”