Fabio Colacchio is an Associate Partner at Bain & Company, based in Milan. He is a senior member of the consultancy's global Consumer Products and Retail practices and part of the leadership team for itsFashion and Luxury verticals.
Since joining the firm in 2012, Fabio has led projects across retail, fashion luxury and consumer products. His current work focuses on fashion and luxury and encompasses strategic vision and planning, transformations planning, marketing, omnichannel strategy and commercial excellence across retail, wholesale and digital, as well as business due diligence.
Fabio also has tailored expertise in brand and customer strategy, marketing and digital transformation.
Beyond his client work, Fabio is one of Bain's BGLAD leaders and coordinates the Milan training programmes for associate consultants and consultants.
How have the events of 2020 impacted on how your business communicates with its customers?
Luxury brands have especially been impacted by COVID-19 for several reasons: the exposure to the Chinese consumer (locally and especially travelling), which means that luxury brands have been disrupted since January 2020, over a month before COVID impacted directly on Europe. During lockdown, luxury brands risked becoming marginalised as people de-prioritised discretionary spending linked to social life (as it is for luxury).
However, many luxury brands did a great job in maintaining relevance by evolving the focus of their communication and messages by:
Informing on measures to secure people's safety
Communicating about their commitment to helping out (for example with donations or converting their plants to manufacture masks and sanitizers)
Helping fill the void of social distancing with entertaining content
This responded to emerging elements of value for consumers such as “avoiding risk”, “reducing anxiety”, “entertaining”, “making a positive impact”, which ensured those brands were worth listening to.
What has been the biggest marcomms lesson you have learnt since March?
We have been highlighting the need to evolve the luxury industry marketing model for quite some time. However Covid has accelerated this evolutionary trajectory to the point where it will have a Darwinian effect in the mid-term:
Digital boost: no company can afford to further delay in elevating its digital game (from internal competences, to spending mix and engagement). The marketing of the industry has been focused on 'the magic'; now it is time to integrate the magic with the tech and the math (without compromising, but enhancing the emotional value).
Phygital paradigm: at the same time, digital won’t fully replace the role and value of in-real-life experiences; consumers want the best of both worlds, and companies will have to master communication and distribution and digital channels as an integrated phygital ecosystem
Diffused creativity: many brands showed little innovation in their marketing model and content (especially if compared to the creativity on the product side); this was due to dogmas which are 30-40 years old. Covid showed us the consumer is more than ready (and happy) to innovate under many fronts: the new role and format of the fashion show, the 'always on' conversation on social media, and the more intimate conversation this creates vs. the top-down and/or formal approach of the past.
What do you believe are the ‘new marketing luxury rules’ for the ‘new normal’?
Expanded brand narrative responding to evolving interests
Continuously upgraded set of customers touchpoints
RE-IMAGINE THE STORE ENGAGEMENT PLAYBOOK
Dedicated plan to proactively attract customers in-store (wherever they live)
Clienteling and remote selling format (by customer tier)
BECOME A DIGITAL CHAMPION AND ENTERTAINER
Internalization of critical capabilities (effectiveness)
Governance model and way of working (agility)
SHIFT TO A ROI-BASED AND NIMBLE MENTALITY
Test & learn approach to continuously adjust
What can we look forward to hearing you discuss this September?
We will talk about the consumer trends that will reshape the marketing and business of the industry. Such trends are clearly exacerbated by Covid, but they are part of a broader wave of change which started years before the pandemic, which we named “the post-aspirational paradigm” as part of the 'new normal' age of luxury, which started in 2017.
What headline insights will you be sharing?
Consumer trends in the post-covid world: here for now, here to stay
The Elements of Value® for Fashion-Luxury consumers: consumers demanding not only product excellence and aspirational emotions, but also for brands to be codes, friends and activists.