“Our values have always translated into coherent business choices”: why Prada’s internal culture prepares it for a bold future
Five Questions with Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Marketing Director & Head of Corporate Social Responsibility
We believe there is a shift from organization-led brands to brand-led organizations (e.g. Disney, Amazon, Apple) where the business is the commercial manifestation of a powerful brand. Do you recognize this shift? What are the challenges and opportunities in it?
I believe this shift is already mature. Being a brand-led business means you completely align your business decisions with your brand strategy, your customers and their needs. In a brand-led business it’s crucial to carry out your work in a way that respects and honors the brand, it’s vision, mission, values, and promise to the market.
In this model, the brand must embody its own founding principles and act accordingly, towards all stakeholders.
This is not something new. At least for us. From the very beginning, our Group represented values which have always been translated into coherent business choices and actions, not just for Prada but for all the brands that are part of the company business.
Today more than ever we act in a very sensitive environment, tackling challenges that we must see also as opportunities to strengthen the customer loyalty, to show consistency with our reputation and business strategy. At the same time, this means you must keep your promise. You will have more attention on you and you may not be forgiven for incoherent choices.
Our Best Global Brands data suggests that brands who not only provide superb experiences but also take a leading stance on social issues are more relevant to consumers. How are you approaching this in your organization?
We recognize this is true. It is certainly an added motivation for us to be ethically committed.
But this is not the main reason why we take care of social issues, as well as we do for environmental and governance ones.
We approach business choices and every commitment we take seriously and intentionally.
The bond with planet, people and culture – the three pillars of our sustainability strategy – are part of our DNA and enable us to understand and interpret changes in society and stimulate new ways to grow.
Examples are Prada Re-Nylon and SEA BEYOND project, the recent Eternal Gold fine jewelry collection, our commitment in D&I initiatives as well as the cultural debate we foster through Fondazione Prada’s activities, just to mention a few.
Today more than ever we act in a very sensitive environment, tackling challenges that we must see also as opportunities to strengthen the customer loyalty, to show consistency with our reputation and business strategy.
Why, in a recession, should a business continue to invest in their brand? How do you think the investment in brand and marketing, will evolve or change over the next 12 – 18 months?
Even at this time, it is crucial to continue investing and innovating. Otherwise, you risk losing competitive advantage.
Given the historical moment we are going through, it is important to make targeted and prudent choices. It is a matter of balance, I think. You should know when to take risks, to push further, and when to be more cautious. The important thing is to have a clear vision of where you want to go.
I believe that in the future we will continue to invest in our brands to nurture dialogue with our customers and generate stories of value to retain them and attract new ones.
How has your competition evolved over the past 24 months? Where are you seeing or experiencing the greatest threats? What are the biggest opportunities? Are you seeing new or surprising competitors entering the space?
One of the biggest challenges and opportunities arose in the last 2 years – in our industry but not exclusively – is how to be effectively present in the Web3. We are creatively and strategically approaching Web3 while some of our competitors are rushing to be there. For example, Prada has recently presented Prada Crypted, the home of the brand in the Web3, a place to exchange ideas while connecting fashion with the art, architecture and cinema worlds.
We believe that we need to tackle this challenge with a bold and authentic proposition, therefore we are evaluating several ideas to respond to this new customer need.
NFTs represent a very interesting way to establish relationships with the community. We experimented a lot in this field, in fact, Prada is today recognized as an innovative player. Our Prada Timecapsule Collection NFTs monthly drops – composed by a gender-neutral physical product as well as a gifted NFT issued on the Ethereum blockchain – continue to be extremely successful.
NFTs represent a very interesting way to establish relationships with the community.
We have come to recognize brands as being powerful acts of leadership. In what ways do your brand’s moves reflect you/your organization’s belief system?
For us acting as a leader means being Drivers of Change: this is our purpose. This headline summarizes our way of doing business, bringing an unconventional view on contemporary society, establishing a constructive dialogue with all our audiences, and embedding our sustainability proposition in all our actions.
Drivers of Change is also the name of an internal engagement programme designed for our employees, to nurture the founding values of the company and provide our people with the opportunity to have their say and contribute to the daily improvement of the workplace.