Ikea vs. Made in Italy?

“Ikea is the brand Italians appreciate the most.”

This is a recent headline seen on the media.

An authoritative study certifies it, with a lot of figures (300 thousand people interviewed by Havas in 34 countries, on a sample of 1,000 brands).

Trademarks are considered within different areas including health, happiness, wealth, relationship, community.

Here’s what Havas says:

These brands can increase up to seven times their competitive strength and earn about 46% more than the brand perceived as less significant (…) Top Meaningful Brands get marketing performances twice as good as those achieved by less significant brands”

Ikea’s placement, according to the research, is all about…

“The ability to ‘meet the growing demand for simplification of everyday life while ensuring good quality at a fair price'”

Allow me a few observations from the point of view of who’s been judged by the Corriere della Sera “a winning and living example of how to compete with globalization” (here the article in Italian, by Dario De Vico).

A few elements come to my mind:

– The globablization of taste proposed by Ikea is quite the opposite , in my opinion, of well-being, relationship and community

– As to aesthetics and values, what Ikea suggests is a flattening of life, homogenization of taste, environmental unsustainability

– Speaking about value, if we take into count the economies of scale that Ikea enjoys, it… is astronomical (to be clear: if a company like ours were to do a small production of, say, 10 or 20 pieces, it could very well put them on the market at “Ikea price”; if you multiply by millions of pieces, it’s easy to understand how the value for money is high… mainly for shareholders!)

All this makes me think about our country and the luck we have being protagonists – internationally recognized – of quality of life, taste, lifestyle, beauty.

This is something higher than any market research, and has roots in the history of our country, not surprisingly home of the most part of works of art in the world.

No brand can compete with “Italy brand” as to good life, relationship and community… the most “meaningful brand” of all, throughout the world, is called Italy.

Now, about the industry of interior design and furnishing, Italy has a strong heritage in the cultural tradition of its artisans.

This “knowledge” is translated into:

– production of unique and “bespoke” pieces for the person, for the family, for the business

– the cost of these products: absolutely sustainable and competitive, thanks to the expertise of processes and materials (and consider that you can manage and controlthe whole design-production process)

– eternal durabilty, thanks to absolute quality

– production times, quick and manageable

– personal relationship: you deal with faces and people, not with customer services

Moreover, by purchasing a product of Italian craftsmanship, we finance our businesses, we build a piece of future for our children.

If we believe in Made in Italy we Italians  must invest in Italy.

Italian SMEs invest every day in this country. As consumers, we should do the same.

For example, try to buy Made in Italy products only (although they may cost a little more, and we know why) and be proud to be testimonials of our products and way of life.

It is very possibile that the world still needs this small, boot-shaped country… long live Italy!

(Daniela Podda)

What’s luxury? Just unnecessary goods for the rich, or something more? And a quote by Mr. Riccardo Muti.

The media often refer to Luxury as one of the contemporary obsessions.

And off with diagrams (the capitals of luxury and so on), European market figures (17 billion), growth trends (400 million people, consumers 35-40 yrs. old in continuous growth), by top consulting firms… and even customer labels: socialwearer, experiencers, absolute luxerer.

A quote about the latter:

The most coveted prey (notice: prey) among top companies, she’s the rich, refined, elegant absolute luxurer.
She belongs to the European elite and the Happy Few emerging market, spends on clothes and watches but also for travels and wines, with a particular attention to everything unique and customized. She generates a market worth billions of euro per year at a cost of 30,000 euro per person.

They even invented a “Luxury barometer” (measuring the tendency to future spending), according to which the global trend is growing (-5% from 2014 to + 15% in 2015).

Also the growing interest of consumers in respect of social and environmental sustainability is growing (from 8% to 13%), especially in Europe and the US.

All of this comes in addition to other values, increasingly relevant ​​to those in need of a product: quality, craftsmanship, exclusivity.

All positive concepts and values – obviously – especially for our beloved Made in Italy that, despite the painful contraction of the domestic market, still stands as one of the largest exporters of these goods defined luxury.

But then I think…

What’s luxury for real?

Can we accept – as Italians – to reduce the idea of luxury to unnecessary goods for the rich? Can we tolerate a concept of luxury merely linked to exclusivity and price, as suggested by the media?

Mr Riccardo Muti helps us in this with the great interview he gave to  Nicoletta Polla Mattiot. He said:
“Luxury is a whisper” 
Intrigued, I look further, and I found a wonderful articole on his Facebook Official page: “The luxury of being Italian.”
Sounds even better, thank you mr. Muti.
Il lusso di essere italiano (Muti)
Mr. Muti’s Idea of luxury is freed from numbers and market values, to approach intangible values:
Everyone should study music (note: or architecture, which in the Renaissance was the same thing): it refines the soul. It leads us towards a better society
I fully agree.
And, what does Mr. Muti look for, when creating music?
What you do not see. What lies beyond. Mozart used to say that music is deeper in the middle, between the sounds and in the sounds
(Just like architecture: not in columns but in the spaces between the columns…).

And yet, the Mr. Muti expresses pride in being Italian: “Being born in Italy is a privilege. I’m proud of my passport and I’d like no other.”

He continues: “As an orchestra leader, I can follow the musical lines of 120 people playing together. I can follow them altogether, but I also perceive each one of them. They all move forward to a common goal: beauty”
And finally, on luxury:
There’s a wonderful luxury offered by music (notice: offer, for free); intensity in elegance, slow and intensive playing, as Toscanini taught us. by Toscanini. It’s also a way of life. Feel the simple, topical difference between screaming “I love you” or whispering it
Touching, isn’t it?
Says Mr. Muti: “I think music shouldn’t be a privilege for the few, but a right for everyone. And it’s a public issue to teach it. No one can own the music.”

Luxury can be seen, therefore, as intangible, cultural, almost spiritual. Is the invaluable value that has shaped the spirit of our culture, in the forms of our art, music, architecture, literature.

We try to define it, but we can’t; it sure is “a whisper” more than an obsession. We can all hear it, but few people really feel it, because it’s not in things, but between things, beyond things.