MILAN — There are a few certainties that the pandemic has brought, one being that companies big and small are required to make a greater effort to stay relevant in today’s scenario marked by a volatile economy.
In particular fashion businesses, not immune to the havoc wrought by the pandemic, were forced to rethink their marketing investments and retail strategies — if not their entire structure.
To this end, FiloBlu — an Italy-based consultancy and business accelerator established by Christian Nucibella in 2009 — is helping companies navigate these difficult times, with a little help from digital and high-tech solutions that address all the company’s functions.
Fresh off of a recent partnership with Google, which allows it to leverage the tech giant’s Cloud system, marketing unit and G-suite range of tools, FiloBlu has built its own Business Intelligence unit, a plug and play solution based on machine learning, artificial intelligence and data-driven knowledge.
“The focus on digital spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in companies’ top executives addressing their digital departments and asking how the company could shoot up its digital revenues,” offered Nucibella, who also holds the chief executive officer role.
“We call [this shift] ‘transformation by digital,’ because in reality it’s not an issue for digital departments to achieve outstanding results, but today it’s the entire company that needs to be restructured and rethought,” he said.
A digital native company supported by a backbone of data and technologies to foster its clients’ business, FiloBlu believes in the integration of functions that are traditionally managed separately.
Because the number of projects across functions is at an all-time high, Nucibella explained there needs to be a structure that supports and handles them. “There’s a ‘cultural’ lack of project-driven strategies, there are very few companies which rely on a project management office,” he said.
At FiloBlu, each brand’s function — from financial to e-commerce and marketing, from communication to project management, data analysis and stock management — is mirrored within the consultancy by dedicated teams.
“We act as a ‘personal trainer’ teaching how to handle business differently and bringing new competences that the in-house teams might not be able to leverage, even if they have them,” contended Nucibella.
He said FiloBlu’s clients often boast all the needed assets with projects already in advances phases but they’re often “underperforming,” with very few businesses capable for example of making 10 percent of their turnovers via e-commerce or 20 to 25 percent through reorders coming from wholesale accounts.
“Flanking their internal structure, we can tear down barriers between departments and establish a cross-functional, nimbler way of working, as well as introduce new methods and bring best practices in, in terms of customer journey, marketing, user experience — all assets that provide results in the short term,” Nucibella said.
The Google partnership helps FiloBlu capitalize on the former’s ability to stock and manage data, as well as to create shared projects’ dashboards. It all speeds up the decision-making process and provides a common ground for different business departments to thrive, Nucibella explained.
“The use of data is fundamental because more or less every company has transitioned toward an omnichannel [approach] and wanted to know more and more about their final customers,” he explained. The company’s data backbone and digital know-how allows brands to better channel their marketing investments, improving the return on sales, or ROS, and putting data and information they already have into useful clusters.
“It allows to adapt the brand’s value proposition to different clients in a more precise way,” Nucibella said. FiloBlu counts Pinko, Santoni, Elisabetta Franchi and Peuterey among its fashion clients.
Awarded with the Deloitte Best Managed Company prize each year since 2018, the consultancy is growing fast. In 2020 revenues are expected to grow between 28 to 30 percent compared to 2019, when its turnover amounted to 51 million euros.
A result- and performance-oriented business model has driven the consultancy’s growth. FiloBlu charges its clients according to the achievements it is able to provide, “and because we do gain from achieved goals, it’s a win-win match,” Nucibella said.
From an entrepreneurial standpoint, the model is sustainable in that it often mirrors or exceeds clients’ expectations.
“It’s what brands expect from us, to be at the forefront of the conversation, and ahead of the game,” mused Nucibella.