Rinascente launches advertising campaign that doubles as a manifesto – WWD
MILAN – Just as the term “sustainability” became familiar in the lexicon of most executives, Rinascente CEO Pierluigi Cocchini found it outdated.
Not that he doesn’t buy into the concept, but he and the Italian department store moved away from the now popular word by devising the company’s latest ad campaign, which resulted in an illustrated manifesto reflecting the change the retailer has done so by defining itself as a “House of brands” to a “house of values”.
“We had our whole vision and our story very clear in our minds, but we never told it,” Cocchini said during the campaign’s digital presentation on Thursday. “We started with the word ‘sustainability’ knowing we didn’t want to use it because it was a misnomer and I personally see it as a word belonging to the past decade. Today, the concept has been enriched with so many new values that this term alone is not sufficient to express them all.
For this reason, the company chose five words representing its pillars and grouped them under the common award “Keep It Beautiful,” intended to telegraph the retailer’s ultimate commitment to preserving and perpetuating beauty. Each flanked by colorful illustrations designed by German artist Lisa Tegtmeier, the terms in the ads are: respect, creativity, research, emotion and diversity.
Respect plays a primordial role for Cocchini, which has referenced it not only in the company’s approach to consumers, 1,500 employees and 3,600 brands presented in the nine Rinascente units across the country, but above all in the territory. Italian.
In fact, what sets Rinascente apart from its competitors is the location of its units, which are all integrated into the downtown areas of the different towns, thus playing a key role for these urban areas not only commercially but also culturally and socially.
In addition to retracing the importance of the company for employees and its role as an ambassador of Made in Italy products, Cocchini particularly emphasized that the stores are not housed in new constructions but in historic buildings that the retailer has. reorganized.
“It’s easy to talk about sustainable materials, LED lighting systems and the like used in store design, but these are prerequisites these days. Our biggest impact is on urban centers, ”said Cocchini, who also noted that the social role of the retailer in different cities has been magnified by COVID-19.
“We do not only want to benefit from this type of positioning but to proactively contribute to the urban social fabric”, continued the executive, citing the enhancement of the metropolitan environment and the contribution to the upgrading of the surroundings of its stores. . As an example, the current renovations were aimed at enlarging the sidewalk where its Roma Tritone location is located.
“We are investing three million euros in the project, which extends into Via del Tritone and Via Due Macelli streets. It could have been a more limited investment if we had only redeveloped our part of the sidewalk, but we wanted to fund more of it, also to help the local municipality. This type of operation, which we have also carried out in Milan in the past, also puts pressure on nearby retailers, which generally elevates the surrounding areas. “
The company, which recently unveiled the remodel of its Florence unit following a € 12.5 million investment, is also preparing to reveal the redesign of its Roma Fiume site, scheduled for May. Designed by Franco Albini and Franca Helg in the 1960s, the building housing the store is undergoing a total overhaul both in its spaces and in its facade, for a total investment of 40 million euros.
Previously, Rinascente also revamped its Milan flagship – the crown jewel of the retailer, which is owned by the central Thai group – with the restyling of floors dedicated to women’s clothing and the addition of a jewelry space. The Roma Tritone and Turin stores unveiled in 2017 and 2019 required an investment of 250 million euros and 20 million euros, respectively.
“We like to define ourselves as a collection of department stores rather than a chain, as each unit is unique in its design and offering,” said Cocchini. “And that’s why our second word is creativity. We understand this pillar both as what we ask of our employees and brands as well as what we try to bring from a technical point of view in the design and architecture of our sites.
Regarding the term ’emotion’, the executive stressed the importance of providing constant entertainment to consumers, becoming ‘a stage of unique experiences’, while highlighting how research permeates every aspect of the business. of the retailer, encompassing brand and trend scouting to explore new ways of approaching customers.
Finally, for “diversity”, Cocchini underlined that the department store is an inclusive and democratic place by definition, where everyone is invited to participate in the shopping experience, have a coffee or simply visit the spaces.
From the end of the month, the “Keep It Beautiful” campaign will be shared with the 2.5 million Rinascente card holders and will appear in stores, on the retailer’s website and social networks as well as in printed magazines. Cocchini said promotional operations will continue over the next two years.
As business investment continues, the store’s current operations are hampered by the unbeatable regional restrictions imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Cocchini said the Milan and Turin sites were the most affected by the ongoing closures, while the impact was less in Rome. Overall, the performance for the first quarter was below expectations, which were based on feedback from local consumers but were ultimately hampered by closures and the delay of the vaccination campaign in the country.
Launched last year after an investment of 20 million euros, the e-commerce site is helping to partially offset the losses, but it was the performance of the on-demand service that surprised Cocchini the most. Launched four years ago, the service enables sellers to support customers’ shopping experience remotely via WhatsApp messages and accounted for over 10 million sales in 2020.
Without disclosing the exact figures, Cocchini confirmed that Rinascente closed 2020 with sales down 30 to 40% compared to the previous year, while it recorded a turnover of 800 million euros and posted double-digit growth compared to 2018.