Brand Finance – an independent brand analysis agency – has drawn a list of the top 50 Italian brands, and the portrait it paints of the current state of Italian economy is what most of the Country was hoping to see. The good news lays not simply in the value of the listed brands, but in their growth, whose rate is 35% higher than the global average. What does this mean? It means that top Italian brands are increasing in value at an exhilarating rate, with some of the highest-rated luxury brands having grown by as much as 50% in the past year. Once again, Italy’s manufacturing quality is proving to be a driving force in our national economy.
Top Italian brands increasing in value – how to keep up with the market
Ranking first among the top 50 Italian brands examined by Brand Finance is Eni, closely followed by Tim (the mobile division of Telecom Italia), Enel, Gucci and Ferrari. In other words, energy, telecommunications and luxury are at the forefront of Italian growth. What determined this positive trend? The analysis ascribes it partly to the business-friendly policies of the past years and partly to the brands’ ability to ride the wave of innovation and stay relevant within their respective markets. In the case of Tim, for instance, an impressive increase in value has been determined by a recent rebranding campaign, which has repositioned the brand on the market, over the course of two years, managing to reach a wider and more faithful customer base.
Room for improvement
While there is understandable enthusiasm for the skyrocketing market value of the top 50 Italian brands, there is equally understandable concern for those who rank lower – the gap widening from position 51 on. Many brands appear to be lagging behind their international counterparts. Analysts put this down to lack of investment, particularly in the fields of marketing, innovation, and brand development. Where a strong brand identity is lacking or where marketing campaigns are inconsistent with formerly asserted brand values, a pact of trust between the brand and its customers is inevitably broken. Particularly in the current social climate, where identity politics are more pervasive than ever and conscious and ethical consumption is on the rise, it is essential for brands to project a consistent image, and factor in lifestyle choices that matter to their customer base. Another aspect that should never be underestimated is innovation. The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, simply doesn’t work anymore. Any brand that fails to invest in innovation is condemned to be left behind in a matter of years, if not months, by the rest of the market.
Be unique: how branding works
There is a simple truth nobody can afford to ignore: competition is everywhere and it is as fierce as ever. Any brand on the market has to elbow its way through a crowd of competitors and if there is one fatal error no brand should ever make (and most brands inevitably make), it is to look at a competitor who is faring reasonably well and try to mimic it. This strategy has literally never worked and yet some find it inexplicably reassuring. While the perspective of “shooting for the moon” might be scary, no famous quote ever started with “aim for mediocrity, you’ll be more or less fine”. Aiming for mediocrity in the current market is not a viable option. And then there is the common misconception that not all brands can afford branding or re-branding campaigns and to invest in innovation – when, in fact they can. For a start, the funds can be obtained by saving on marketing campaigns for products that have outstayed their welcome on the market or that are not ageing well compared to the competition. If we take a look at practical examples, we will see success and brand identity surging whenever innovation was pursued correctly – think of Armani going fur-free or Italdesign branching out into hypercar production.
Is the Italian market ready to welcome excellence for domestic consumption? More than that, it is eager to do so. Are Italian brands ready to provide it? Some of them are and others are learning. In between, there’s room for further growth and plenty of opportunities, for those who can take them.