by Marzia De Giuli
MILAN, Italy, July 13 (Xinhua) -- In today's competitive world, communication is a centerpiece for successfully companies, Luciano Benetton, the founder of the Benetton Group, a global fashion brand based in the Italian northern town of Ponzano Veneto, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
When Benetton gave life to the family company in 1965, he could not imagine that his brand in 2014 would be present in the most important markets in the world, from the United States to China, with a network of more than 6,000 stores.
And much was thanks to Benetton's intuition that communication was a fundamental element for the brand building, based on the certainty that "communication should never be bought from an external supplier, but must arouse from the heart of a company."
What are the elements of an effective communication? "They are an alchemy coming from a bit of enlightenment and a hard work," Benetton said.
Solid entrepreneurial values, he added, must combine with innovative languages to build a business culture where everything, from the brand to the design of the company's headquarters and factories, is part of the communication strategy.
"Competitiveness between brands today is mainly based on the image that is instilled in customers and on the feeling that is given to them to become part of a well-defined world," Benetton stressed.
Over the course of the years the Italian group, which is renowned internationally for the variety and uniqueness of its clothing's colors, has built the image of a brand which brings together all the different "colors of peoples and viewpoints" to collaborate for a better world.
Its communication campaigns have especially focused on promoting the brand through stimulating thinking and debate on universal issues such as peace, health and environment, also collaborating with international institutions such as the United Nations and anti-AIDS associations.
Later, from traditional campaigns the brand got on to more sophisticated projects. In 1994 the Benetton Group launched "Fabrica," a research center on communication which gathers creative talents of different ages and cultural backgrounds to create multimedia communication programs.
In more recent years, cultural events as well as the promotion of sports activities have also become central. The latest project, presented earlier this month at the group's headquarters, was "Imago Mundi," a collection of paintings from established and emerging artists from different countries commissioned and collected by Benetton on his travels.
Imago Mundi, which also features Chinese works, conveys the group's message of universality which unites the diversities of the planet in the name of common experience, Benetton explained to Xinhua.
The exhibition has no commercial ambitions, but only the goal to pass down to future generations the mapping of the situation of human cultures at the start of the third millennium, Benetton said.
In fact, Benetton pointed out, the secret for making communication efficacious especially in times of crisis, when values such as hope and the sense of future are necessary more than ever, lies in the "capacity of innovating without losing one's own identity."
In his view, brands created in countries with a millenary history such as Italy and China should lay the groundwork of their image building in the heritage of their cultural tradition to look into the future with more optimism.