Patrizio di Marco
President and Chief Executive Officer
In this "age of responsibility" how do you see your customer changing?
In these still difficult times, we are seeing that customers are more concerned than ever about authenticity. Therefore, it is absolutely legitimate for Gucci to emphasize its heritage and values. The point is not to present our history or where we come from as a sort of nostalgia, but as something that is very much alive today in all of our products and continues to define us. Gucci is uniquely recognized within its sector for both its luxury heritage and fashion authority, pairing modernity and tradition, innovation and craftsmanship, trendsetting and sophistication. With the changed consumer attitudes that are emerging from the deep recession of the last 18 months, it is important for us to reinforce this duality in the minds of our customers.
What points can you share from your experiences that contribute in building a successful brand?
Most importantly, you can’t betray your clients. You need to stay loyal to your long-lasting values and build meaningful relationships with your customers through a consistent focus on product excellence and outstanding service.
At Gucci, we have built a reputation over 90 years based upon values and traditions that are recognized and appreciated. It would be a mistake not to respect and nurture this history – we would lose our identity.
How have you adapted to the impact of technology and social media?
We are a company with a deep respect for the past, but at the same time with an eye firmly focused on the future. Gucci was, in fact, a pioneer when it launched its U.S. e-commerce site in 2002. The current website operates in 17 countries and in eight different languages, while the e-commerce section is active in 12 countries with over 2,000 products available.
Gucci.com is considered to be an industry benchmark e-commerce site. It is about to be enhanced with a new design and with new functionalities that will, in my view, make it the first digital flagship store. One of the reasons Gucci has been successful in reaching new customers is because of the attention paid to the internet. Through gucci.com, Facebook, Twitter and the Gucci Apple Application (Gucci App), the company broadened its reach in a rich and very direct way. The Gucci Official Page on Facebook has over 900,000 fans. At the end of June, the Gucci App - which is updated every two months - counts more than 600,000 downloads and over 1,100,000 upgrades.
Innovative media and technology represent a valuable complementary business channel as well as a significant way of communicating. A strong passion for new technology – along with the powerful recognition of the Gucci brand – is allowing us to develop more personal and constant relationships with current and prospective consumers. Ultimately, the aim is to offer the same values and experience to an online customer or visitor as we do in our physical stores.
How much of a role does corporate citizenship play in managing your brand?
To me, people always come first and they are the most important asset, in every company and in every business. You can achieve great results only if people work with passion and a sense of responsibility.
The world's leading brands are rightly judged today not just on the quality of their products and services, but also on the way they act in the community and towards the environment. In 2004, Gucci took a leadership position in the industry by voluntarily initiating the certification process for Corporate Social Responsibility (SA8000) across its supply chains. In the same year, Gucci established a partnership with UNICEF, which in the last six years has generated more than US$ 8 million for its projects supporting disadvantaged children and women in sub-Saharan Africa. These initiatives are very much part of our values system and they are of increasing concern to our customers as they make purchasing decisions.
Patrizio di Marco was appointed Gucci’s President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2009 having originally joined Gucci Group in 2001 as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bottega Veneta. He has been a member of the Gucci Group Management Committee for eight years.
Mr. di Marco’s comprehensive twenty-year career has yielded an extensive knowledge of and unique sensibility for the luxury marketplace. His professional experience is truly international, having held senior positions in Asia, Europe, and America at various of the world's most respected luxury brands, and he brings a profound understanding of how global fashion systems work today.
As a champion of essential luxury in which quality and craftsmanship are paramount, Mr. di Marco has become known for his focused approach to the business. His support of the “Made in Italy” tradition is unwavering. Mr. di Marco’s vision is now being applied to Gucci, where the storied Italian brand’s exclusive heritage and long-lasting values are emphasized in conjunction with its high fashion and aspirational style.