A new appointment under the banner of creativity for the BBS Leadership Talks, the series of meetings focused on the challenges and opportunities that organizations will encounter in the post-pandemic future. The protagonist was the Creative Director of Creative Exchange Agency, Luca Finotti, who spoke to the participants of the Global MBA about the importance of integrating creativity and management, especially in the fashion and luxury sectors.
A challenge that Finotti, with a degree in Marketing and Economics from the Bocconi University (Milano, Italy), a graduate of the New York Film Academy and defined by Forbes as “the director of videos that go viral in fashion”, has brilliantly met, as demonstrated by the numerous awards he has received at over 25 film festivals and the work he has done with the biggest brands in the fashion world and with artists such as Lady Gaga, Gigi Hadid and Janelle Monáe, to name just a few.
Luca Finotti’s speech started with a question that only a short time ago would have seemed a provocation: how has it been possible, and above all, how can the incredible phenomenon of migration of Fashion and Luxury content from printed paper to the new media be managed and mastered? Indeed, fashion and luxury is a sector that has undergone an extraordinary transformation: from the pages of magazines we have now moved on to multimedia which may not always be easy to manage in a world where image management is, to say the least, crucial.
The answer comes in the form of an invitation: especially when you are lucky enough to be on a learning journey, like the one the Global MBA participants are experiencing, it is essential to have your eyes and ears open to catch all the signs of change in the world. Facebook is the sign that swept through Luca’s university life. He recalled how, as an “Economics student who wanted little to do with economics”, even though he knew that managerial skills are important for managing large projects, he found himself among the first to use Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. Facebook would give him, only a short time later, as a film student in New York, an opportunity that we almost take for granted today, but that wasn’t then: to make his work known to the world and reach important personalities, such as Tom Ford.
From being a creative and a film director to being a communication expert, the jump was very short, so much so that today his job is to lead brands to have the highest possible visibility on digital channels. To do this, it is necessary to be constantly updated and to know how to operate both in terms of innovation, keeping up with what is happening in the world of technology, and in terms of trends, trying to anticipate them. It’s a full-time job that requires those who want to deal with communication today, especially with Design, Fashion and Luxury brands, to have their eyes wide open onto the world.
Luca Finotti’s story seems to be the demonstration of what, according to many, is the secret of happiness and perhaps even of success: doing what you love. “When I was 30 years old,” Finotti said, “I stopped doing what I had to do and started doing what I believed in.” And it was at that point that, thanks to the visibility offered by the Forbes interview, Nike called him to participate in the Nike Lab, what Luca today defines as a real “dream job” and a springboard towards his future. #WeBelieveInThePowerOfLove was a decidedly unprecedented campaign for its time, innovative and brilliant. The video celebrated inclusion, as well as love, of course – quoting in the title a fashion show by designer Riccardo Tisci, mentor of Finotti and the project, “I believe in the power of love” – by showcasing models and aesthetics that are real and in the name of diversity. The talents who participated were ordinary people, chosen by Finotti to convey the idea that all of us, no matter how different, when we do something we love, like sports, become one. The campaign immediately went viral and filtered through to the social world as if it were a natural event, even if it was, of course, a precise choice of the director, who wanted to communicate how the Internet takes control of videos.
A project that was also a lesson in life and thought for Luca, who was able to put himself to the test in his adoptive city, Milan, choosing to work in working-class areas of the city. Timing is fundamental in the choices of those who aim at virality: called to work on the project in the middle of winter, Finotti chose Valentine’s Day for the launch, knowing that there are times of the year when, if you have a good idea, it’s easier to go viral. As a demonstration that even what is born as spontaneous and immediate, such as the beautiful stories of the 45 young people who participated in the project, can be enhanced only if there is a valid strategy upstream. As well as an accurate measurement of the results, which, in the case of the campaign brought by Luca as a case history, are really impressive. Beyond clicks and shares, the result in sales was a 20% increase that brought Luca to Oregon, to study together with Nike the reasons behind such an extraordinary success.
Today Nike’s campaign is proof that people need to feel that a brand shares their values and points of view. And also, that a brand can become an aid to conveying their vision of the world, enhancing differences, creating integration. “Watching the video, what you perceived was a greater connection with the brand,” Luca explained. Another reason is the ability to integrate, even at the last second, elements of innovation, as in 2017 were, for example, 3D graphics, which were inserted in post-production to keep up with what competitors were doing. At the time, the launch on social media had been simultaneous on various channels; today there is Meta, intended to encapsulate the various realities in a single social, and it is the culmination of a process that the most attentive observers have been able to intuit for some years already, looking at China and the “all in one” structure of WeChat.
What makes it possible to carry out large-scale projects such as Nike’s? “Creativity, of course, but that’s not all,” Finotti explained, “even with large budgets and infinite possibilities, it’s necessary to be able to maintain a good level of productivity, optimizing resources as much as possible”. For this reason, managerial training is essential.
There were many questions from the Global MBA participants at the Talk, as they wished to learn more not only about the case histories presented by Luca, but also about how to manage the communication of Luxury brands with respect to the need to remain relevant over time for an increasingly varied target. In each answer Luca Finotti included the story of a real experience with the most prestigious brands. And it is perhaps this aspect that makes the BBS Leadership Talks unique: the ability to bring life and business experiences, which are stronger and more memorable than any theory, to the attention of the participants, who are ready to treasure the stories of those who, before them, have achieved success in the markets and sectors in which they dream of building their own futures.