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Local heroes fuel stellar growth


Local heroes fuel stellar growth

Fast-paced growth by some of Italy’s strongest global brands has powered the Top 30 Most Valuable Italian Brands to a total value of US$96.86 billion – an increase of 14 percent in the past 12 months. The Top 10 have done even better, rising in value by 18 percent, on average.

The combined brand value of these leading brands – many of which household names and category pioneers around the world – equates to around 5 percent of Italy’s GDP.

The pace of growth is healthy compared to that seen in other mature markets; growth in the BrandZ Top 30 rankings for France was 23 percent, in Germany 7 percent and the UK 5 percent.

Opportunity knocks

While the pace of growth is on a par with that in other developed economies, the value of Italian brands in the ranking is significantly below that in other markets. The average value of a brand in the Italian Top 30 is $3,229 million – less than half the value of the average Top 30 UK brand, and just over one-third the value of a German Top 30 brand.

This means Italian brands are contributing less to their businesses on a brand-for-brand basis. It signals a significant growth opportunity for Italian businesses that are willing to invest in developing the strength of their brands.

Passport to success

The most valuable Italian brands have a strong presence on the global stage, and typically over half of their exposure lies overseas. In fact, the average exposure of Italy Top 30 brands in international markets is 60 percent – a figure beaten only by France (72 percent), which benefits from international demand for luxury goods.

Moving beyond a brand’s home market requires ambition and bravery – attributes long associated with Italian businesses.

By taking an international approach to building a brand – with local adaptations of a strong central brand mission – brands not only broaden their potential audience base. They also spread their exposure to risk; when demand in one market declines, the probability is that it is balanced out by heightened demand elsewhere.

Global names, local heroes

High-end fashion and travel brands top the list of Italian brands generating the majority of their business overseas. These are brands that are almost as well known in other markets as they are at home, and they have taken with them – and helped nurture – much of what “Brand Italy” has come to represent: glamor, design, quality craftsmanship, sexiness and fun.

Fastest Risers

The five fastest-growing brands in the Italian Top 30 come from four different categories: cars, luxury, alcoholic drinks, and tires. Growth in the tires category comes from Pirelli, and is largely a result of its return to the Milan Stock Exchange this year.

This is significant because to some extent, brands ride a wave – or get knocked around by one – that affects their entire business sector. Deregulation of an industry, or the entry of a game-changing new technology or competitor, tends to have a similar effect on brands across the board.

But the brands that have done especially well in Italy this year have outperformed the rest of their sector by some considerable margin. There’s more at play than big industry-wide shifts.

In essence, these leading brands have made their own luck.

Pirelli is driven by a clear purpose, strong brand experience and emotional connection. Its growth has been supercharged this year by its return to public ownership and re-listing on the Milan Stock Exchange, two years after being taken private. Campari’s growth is powered by high-quality communications, desirability and fun. Ferrari is a highly differentiated, distinctive brand, which delivers an outstanding brand experience, and Fiat is a very well-known brand with a clear, positive personality.


This “prancing horse” logo of Ferrari is synonymous with speed, luxury, performance, innovation, an outstanding driving experience – and even the color red. In the past year, the business has benefited from a double-digit increase in sales of cars and spare parts, led by V12 models, the convertible LaFerrari Aperta, and the entry-level Portofino, which replaces the best-selling California.

In BrandZ analysis, Ferrari achieves outstanding scores for innovation – it is set to launch the first Ferrari SUV in 2020 and has set out plans for a hybrid range. It offers a brand experience perceived to be 20 percent higher than the average brand in Italy, and a strong sense of purpose.

Other attributes on which Ferrari significantly over-indexes are: sexiness (129), desirability (130), design (125) and being different (178).


This is a drink that has barely changed since its launch back in 1860, yet it innovates and communicates in such a way as to feel highly relevant to the lives of consumers today. Campari communications in the past year has centered on the “Campari Red Diaries” campaign “The Legend of Red Hand”, describing the pursuit of the perfect cocktail. It’s had more than 31 million views online. The brand is shortly due to release a limited-edition product, Campari Cask Tales, which will reinforce the brand’s premium image and desirability.

Within BrandZ, Campari is an especially strong performer on measures of communication and brand love. It has a Meaningful Difference score of 121, which is 21 points higher than the average Italian brand.

Campari also over-indexes on sexiness (125), fame (112), leadership (112), fun (111) and desirability (111).