“Sustainability develops on more than one dimension in the fashion segment”, states Giusy Bettoni. The CEO of C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy) explains that the first dimensions are those that can easily be imagined: design, innovation and style. But the last isn’t less important than the others: communicate the value. Those that invest in sustainability and express a model that contains excellence and efforts, need to know to communicate it. Tanneries are first in line. Bettoni spoke with Fulvia Bacchi (UNIC’s General Director) and Orietta Pelizzari (Mattori Studio) during the webinar titled “Communicating the smart values of Italian leather to the contemporary consumer”.
Between storymaking and storytelling
There are two values that must be aligned in a business, with regards to communication activities. What are they? Storymaking and storytelling, simply put: doing something and tell the story of how it was done. “Because promoting the first one without getting hold of the second one means – clarifies Bettoni -, that the product will appear simply expensive, because the consumer will not have the tools to understand the reasons behind the high price.
When the second one exists without the 1st, then it becomes greenwashing”. Many, in this regard, take advantage of it. But luckily lies sooner or later are discovered and what comes after takes a long time to forget. “The Dieselgate scandal by the Volkswagen Group has had consequences that must be kept in mind”, warns Bettoni.
Communicate the value
Tanneries aren’t spectators in this show. To the contrary, they are called to interpret a very proactive role. “There is always a need for good communication – observes Bacchi -, as everyday we witness a new attack that defames the material. The Leather Decree isn’t enough to resolve the matter”. Bettoni agree: “In some circles of public opinion, leather is perceived as a negative material. It can be seen with regards to animal welfare, workplaces and environmental impact”.
And here an effective communication strategy can be useful: “saying that ‘leather is sustainable’ isn’t enough, it’s too generic – she says -. We must define the debate over Italian leather. Every company must be able to communicate to consumers the investments made, and the results achieved, along with the added value of the finished product. It must be transparent and offer measurable and certified information. Italy’s tanning is lucky, because it can utilize the tools of ICEC, among which are certifications based on various needs”.
Getting to consumers
Contemporary consumers care about sustainability. Market indicators confirm that it’s not a ‘fad’, but a concrete market trend. Tanneries shouldn’t feel far away from end-consumers, just the opposite. Communication, agree Bettoni and Pelizzari, gets to end-consumers by clarifying the value of leather brands and retailers. “A value that is considered when it is useful and appreciated by those that expect it – concludes the CEO of C.L.A.S.S. -. Communication is of paramount importance”.