From WWD’s interview with Patrizio Bertelli, CEO of Prada Group:
Patrizio Bertelli Talks Prada and Politics
Let’s move on to the Prada business. During past conference calls in discussing financial results, you spoke about the need to identify the new luxury consumers. Who are they? How do they buy? Are they loyal? How do you think to engage them?
Every 10 years, there is a presentation of a typical consumer. But the consumer today still wants that same luxury as back in the Eighties or Nineties. The difference now is the approach to that consumer. Until the year 2000, the markets that could benefit from luxury were very much limited, one-third of the world. Then came the globalization, the new markets, Brazil, China, India and this brought three billion new consumers, so the market has tripled but the customers are more diversified in terms of habits, ethnically and so on. These are consumers that use tools that are entirely different from the past, the Internet, computers. Before the iPhone came out, and especially the iPhone 6, there wasn’t really a boom of the use of digital images. But after 2014, with the [iPhone 6] it’s a small iPad. Everything changed with the use of images, and the connection of people, the new digital platforms. [Kim] Kardashian, for example, has 80 million followers — 80 million. What a number. Ten years ago it was unthinkable. The approach of consumers changed also toward fashion. The first contact with fashion is the phone, e-commerce or the store equally are the second contact, stimulated by all these digital activities. This means that companies must be prepared.
Do you think some brands are sneaky and may jump on this and focus on products that stand out on social media?
I think so, but I want to add that people’s attention is limited, and speed requires for the images to strike you. And this, whether it’s the image or someone wearing the clothes, changes the identity of the product, so that it is more visible.
I was thinking of each product, focused in terms of photography. Even a big black shopping bag can have an identity be [special] in a context. So it’s not the object but the context. We would almost have to do a video per week. It’s a big problem in terms of organization, the product is almost “less important” than the skill in presenting it. The representation becomes very important. To align product and representation is the winning asset.
Does this imply a special alignment between designer, entrepreneur and communication?
There must be a direction. This is the new communication, totally different from that on paper, which can last a week or a day. It’s the difference between the iPhone and paper, or similarly, between cinematography and the theater. Cinema has a different depth. When you see a movie set, it’s poor, compared with what you see on the big screen. The same is if you try to put a theater representation on film. Communication is changing. The relation with newspapers and magazines is no longer what we were used to. In addition, now there are also the relations with VICs [very important clients]. People expect to see the equivalent of what is on paper on their phones and then on films integrated and expanded. There must be a strong integration and direction. E-commerce and digital stem from this direction, how do we do it, when we do it, it all impacts style and industrial activities.
Find the complete WWD interview with Patrizio Bertelli here.