The goal: Overhaul brand licensing to create a platform for long-term growth
The challenge: Understand the dynamics of Tonino Lamborghini’s diverse activities in order to create a coherent brand portfolio
The result: A digitally enabled brand licensing strategy and guidelines ready for future growth
Less than three years after joining the family business in March 2018, former Italian motorcycle racing champion Ferruccio Lamborghini, 28, the grandson of the original Lamborghini car company founder, became CEO of the brand licensing company his father, Tonino, founded in 1981. This company, which uses the famous Miura bull logo, is focussed on watches, eyewear, home accessories, lifestyle products and real estate developments. Ferruccio’s grandfather had sold the car manufacturer in 1974.
Ferruccio initially started at Tonino Lamborghini as a marketing manager, but his father was keen to immerse him in all aspects of the business. “He wanted me to go with him to every meeting. I spent the first year going from one office to another and listening. The important thing for me is to be humble, to listen, to study the market and develop my own ideas on each business,” says Ferruccio.
His key challenges were to learn about the wide range of product categories and then how sales could be enhanced by shifting to digital marketing channels. “My father didn’t fully understand the ROI on websites or on the different Web content that we can create,” he recalls.
“The important thing for me is to be humble, to listen, to study the market and develop my own ideas on each business.”
Working closely with his father — they are neighbours and frequently discuss the business over dinner — Ferruccio has steadily put his digital strategy into action. He has reorganised the company, focussing on areas where it controls the supply chain and moving other products into five newly formed joint ventures with licensees. The aim is to replace the typical, limited licensor/licensee relationship with long-term collaborative partnerships.
Ferruccio has proven to be an effective steward of both his family business and the legacies of his father and grandfather. But he is also determined to make his mark by bringing innovative approaches and ideas to the business as he gains more experience and international exposure. For example, he has started a new line of Tonino Lamborghini Swiss watches, which are designed and manufactured by the company, moving from their established licensing model.
The first fruits of Ferruccio’s overhaul — an updated brand strategy and guidelines, along with a new corporate campaign — appeared towards the end of 2019. The full financial return on the investment lies in the future. “Everything we’ve done has been with our eyes on 2020,” he says.