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17 April 2020

“Made in Italy”: how the brand can overcome the crisis

“Made in Italy”: how the brand can overcome the crisis

The health emergency brought by the virus turns into an economic emergency, leading to a real split of the world “before” and “after” Covid-19, which increasingly represents a divide in modern history.

The side effects of this crisis are also visible in the “Made in Italy” brand, the core business of the Italian economy.
It should be remembered that “Made in Italy” is not only a generic term to refer to goods produced in Italy, but a real brand whose use is governed by specific laws. The fact that this wording is placed on a label means it is a guarantee of quality all over the world; not surprisingly, a study published in 2017 by Forbes rated “Made in Italy” in 7th place in terms of reputation among consumers all over the world.
The brand has always been so strong, that it was able to cope with the economic crisis of 2008 and the competition of cheaper products of other countries.

All this before the Coronavirus. What’s next?

Before this new crisis, the value of “Made in Italy” had continued to grow in double figures from year to year. According to the data of March 2019, this value had reached the record figure of 96.9 billion dollars. Luxury brands dominated this ranking, with a contribution of around 40%.

Now, with the outbreak of the pandemic, the value of the brand is at risk – both from an economic point of view and from what concerns the reputation and prestige acquired over the years. How can “Made in Italy” deal with this new shock that has a strong socio-economic impact?
The recovery of the Italian industry could start from exports, identifying a strategic market in Asian countries, that are predicted to be the first ones to recover from the crisis. At the end of 2019, in fact, Italy positioned itself as the eighth largest exporting country in the world, with very dynamic rhythms that account for 3% of global exports.
The importance of promotion on digital channels should also not be underestimated: it’s clear how eCommerce and online presence are strategic tools in this period of social-distancing emergency.
From a digital point of view, alongside eCommerce, new online event formats are also being adopted, for example “virtual fairs” opened 365 days a year that can contribute to the support of foreign trade, which alone is worth 1/3 of the national Italian GDP.

Who supports “Made in Italy”?

In this first phase, much of the support comes from the heart of the country: according to a recent Swg-Legacoop survey, over 80% of the Italian people believe it is important to buy only Made in Italy products to support the economy in this difficult time.
But positive signs also come from abroad: despite the controversy resulting from fake news or promo spot such as the French “Coronavirus pizza”, Italian brands maintain their reputation abroad.
The cases of Italian high fashion companies that have reconverted their factories to produce medical masks and other personal protective equipment have become positive examples all over the world.

Innovation is the key

The goal, after the most acute phase of the emergency, will be to be prepared for the recovery. This crisis can be a starting point that allows new sales and production channels to be reinforced.
First of all the digital channel, fundamental in the first phase of social distancing; this will be an obligatory and urgent step that can be helpful for “Made in Italy” in order to face the post-pandemic period. A strong drive for innovation will therefore be needed, a trend that is not lacking in the Italian people, but which must be put into practice without delay.

Data sources:
Osservatori Digital Innovation