The Italian fashion house’s revenues have more than doubled over the past five years, reaching a record high of EUR 8.3 billion in 2018. At the same time, operating profit has skyrocketed and is now up threefold on 2015. Growth rates like this are rarer than hen’s teeth in the rest of the fashion market. They call for manpower and creative thinking. As delivered by Alessandro Michele. Since his appointment as creative director in January 2015 it’s not the twofold increase in revenue that has made people sit up and take notice: under his stewardship, Gucci has become fashionable and relevant again.

Michele, who has elevated the brand to new financial highs, reveals his more romantic side in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt. “The company that I work for earns a lot of money. And that money needs to be spent wisely. If we support the arts and culture, that’s viewed as a marketing. But in reality, we do it out of love.” In fact, things could scarcely have gone better from a marketing point of view. Or in terms of “business strategy, aesthetics and target audience” as Gucci CEO and President Marco Bizzarri puts it. The brand itself is now focusing on a blend of luxury and streetwear for younger consumers as well as relatable storytelling for the social media age.  When a superstar like Beyoncé  shares a photo of herself alongside her daughter in a Gucci denim jacket, they reach more people in a single stroke than there are in most countries. That’s marketing for you.

Perfect for all those young customers who line up outside the stores or make the pilgrimage to Florence to have their photograph taken in the Gucci Garden, which is a playground for all of the label’s disciples. Among the employees at this store, permanent exhibition and restaurant hybrid is none other than superstar chef Massimo Bottura, who treats fashion fans to his fantastic creations in the Gucci Osteria. Haute cuisine meets haute couture. Not too shabby!

Have No Fear

So, what kind of marketing lessons can we learn from this? Not to fear anything. For years and years, luxury brands and traditional companies in particular were terrified of losing control of their core brand or watching exclusivity melt away through digital marketing and other channels. At the end of the day, it is still only a question of reaching out to new generations of customers and above all else showing them something unusual. Whether it’s through captivating social media campaigns or offline experiences such as the Gucci Garden – which celebrates the present as well as the label’s illustrious past through shops, exhibitions and museums. Bravo, Gucci!

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