Branding at 360°: this is only one of the issues confronted during the Best Practice in Marketing’ convention organised by Business International. Nicola Giorni (General Manager, Mini BMW), Luciano Iengo (Brand Manager, Renault), Vittorio Renzi ( General Manager, Scavolini) and Alberto Busetto (VD In charge of Strategic Marketing Assicurazioni Generali) discussed brand excellence as a strategic asset of the companies and Alberto Pratesi, Business Marketing and Communication Professor at the University of Studies in Rome 3, emphasised the role of emotions and innovations as basic tools of the new tactics and strategies of brand management in order to be competitive on the market. What are they? And how many brand architectures are created or destroyed.?
In the automotive world the brand coincides with the product: the Mini, created in a period of unrest due to studies and research (1959), had its golden period between the 60’s and the 70’s, then a period of crisis followed in the 80’s. After BMW took over, a strategy of brand extension followed for two main reasons: on one hand, the traditional ‘adult’ image of the automobile group has the possibility of capturing even a younger target; on the other hand the problem linked to the international regulations that impose the production of low-powered cars so the emission of gas does not go over determined parameters.
Therefore in 2001 BMW launched, a new Mini brand, with a dedicated structure made to attract a totally different clientele. What changes have come about from the 60’s to today? Once, the Mini was a synonym of individuality and personality; a successful product, bearer of values of those days. Now, contrary to some ‘retro-marketing’ strategies (that tend to recreate an old product without renewing it and adapting it to the changes occurred), BMW has changed the original identity and ideology, advertising first its technical features and its fame, then above all the emotions and values that the car arouses in the customer.
Therefore, the Mini and the Mini customer are at the centre of the marketing strategies.
The Renault case, on the other hand, highlights the difficulty of a generalist sector to always maintain balance and coherence among the values of the brand target of reference and the values of reference of the Renault generalist brand. The coherence regarding a promise made to the customer contributes in seducing and reassuring that person. So, in organisational terms, the Marketing Management responds to this demand: this includes several transversal services to the several product managers, both in terms of advertising (commercials), and in terms of ranges and pricing definition.
Scavolini, has confronted a particular path of development and innovation: at the beginning of the 60’s, from the craftsmen company it became a big company that responded to the demands of the costumers. Afterwards, a unique entrepreneurial intuition leads to investing in advertising (commercials in the Caroselli) and so in 1984 it became the market leader. At the same time, the creation of the claim ‘La cucina più amata dagli italiani’, (The most loved kitchen by Italians) as a consequence of the testimonial choice, Raffaella Carrà, who, after several experiences in Argentina, turns out to be ‘the most loved by the Italians’.
This title then passed to Lorella Cuccarini and then in 2005, there was a radical advertising change: advertising started relying on the brand. But the Scavolini brand insisted on speaking to the multitude, and on having a strong brand name synonym of credibility and guarantee. So, in the mid 90’s, a ‘basic’ line is created for those who are on a limited budget and, in 1996, the new brand name Ernesto Meda was created for a more demanding market.
Its success was reached for several elements: wise advertising and design techniques side by side with effective solutions that assist the ‘cooking’.
Finally, the historic branding of a well-known brand is Assicurazioni Generali, an enterprise born 175 years ago and which has become, owing to its acquisition policies, a competitive and visible multinational company both on a national and international level. in In the 1980’s, Assicurazioni Generali chose to buy, the buildings in the most beautiful and representative Italian city squares, which signified that their location be towards the squares and towards the minds of the people’.
Now, the difficulty is in coordinating an organic strategy, as in the acquisitions of public structures like INA, that is now virtually public for many consumers, or the structures like Alleanza, linked to the clients through a net of 12 thousand sellers.
Even another factor changes: in the past, the relationship with the insurer was guaranteed by a father-son transition; today this link has disappeared and all this distorts the model of approach to the distribution.
One of the business strategies is to emphasis the experiential role of the brand through television commercials; going from the solidity value to the quality value that incorporates it.
Some fundamental points arise from the case histories examined: · to not pursue passing fashions but to create a link with the consumer who is at the root of the true brand culture;
· to not be too rational in strategies;
· to not make false promises to clients, but to aim at a clear and perceptible promise that can be kept;
the brand can be bearer of its values, but the product must be suitable to the demands risen after socio-economic changes in which the consumer lives and changes, therefore,
· to not crystallize the choices of the company, but to understand which are the static and dynamic values.
To look into the session dedicated to the new retail frontiers, click here