iW recently spoke with Ferruccio Lamborghini, the son of Tonino Lamborghini, who founded Lamborghini’s industrial design company in 1981. As the third generation leading a Lamborghini business, Ferruccio not only inherited his famous name from his father and grandfather, he also enjoys his family’s passion for motorcycles and high speed. His years of racing led to several championship titles in Italian motorcycle racing.
In our wide-ranging discussion, we learned more about brand’s latest lineup of Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches, especially the Spyder, Spyderleggero Chrono and Cuscinetto (Italian for ball bearing) collections. These collections are at the core of the brand’s timepiece offerings, and Ferruccio has redesigned them for 2021. The shield of the brand’s logo with its Miura raging bull, inspired the Spyder, which debuted in 2007. Lamborghini debuted its first Cuscinetto collections in 1983.
In our interview with Ferruccio Lamborghini, since 2018 the CEO of the Tonino Lamborghini luxury lifestyle and design powerhouse, he tells us more about how he views the company’s generational change, and details the importance of the watches within the future of the Lamborghini enterprise.
iW: Can you describe what it is like to take over the family brand at such a young age? The challenges, the experience, and any surprises that you discovered along the way?
Ferruccio Lamborghini: I am proud of it and of the generational change process my father and I experience together every day. The challenges have been changing through the years and they are mostly linked to the different dynamics related to our wide products portfolio: each product and sector deserve a special attention and a dedicated strategy.
In the last five years I have worked hard to understand all the company’s processes to set the actual vision and define a strong re-organization of the business strategies.
As a lifestyle brand, Tonino Lamborghini offers a variety of products. How do you determine when it makes sense to apply the TL ethos and bring a new product on-board?
Our family’s DNA is characterized by great curiosity and resourcefulness, which has always stimulated our creativity and made Tonino Lamborghini a consistent lifestyle brand. Through the decades the company and customers’ needs have changed, therefore in the nowadays scenario we have a new approach towards the developments of new products: they have to perfectly fit in a coherent and consistent Tonino Lamborghini ecosystem.
We have branded accessories, furnishing and interior products, real estate and hospitality projects, food and beverages. It is a comprehensive Tonino Lamborghini lifestyle that you can wear, live, experience and drink.
How important are the wristwatches among the stable of Tonino Lamborghini products?
Watches are our core product. They represent the best combination of our family mechanical heritage with the lifestyle approach my father had since the foundation of his company. Today it is the same, considering that the recent strategy related to our new line of Swiss watches is the one for which I have recently invested most of my energy.
Do you intend to expand the watch lines in the near future?
Yes, of course I do. Next autumn I will announce new models, which will increase the Tonino Lamborghini Swiss Watches collection selection for both quartz and automatic movements. I also would like to highlight that, among the new models, a lady’s watch is coming.
What are the key elements and/or identifiers customers can expect in a Tonino Lamborghini timepiece?
Our customers choose our accessories to be out of the ordinary because they look for something new to experience and love and to feel part of the Tonino Lamborghini lifestyle, an approach that we always follow when we develop our ideas and new products.
When breaking into new markets around the world, what strategies do you employ to promote your brand to the industrial members as well as the end consumers aware of your watches?
In such a competitive business field where the major brands have a years-long established presence, the key is to share a clear vision and the core values of the brand/products.
From an industry point of view, we still believe in the importance of the exhibitions, physical or digital, and I personally love to meet the press and explain my watches or strategies. Besides, regarding the distributors, we directly support our partners, and we always are open to define jointly the strategy in accordance with each market demand/request and its related customers behaviors.
From a consumers’ point of view, we are still investing in the press both nationally and internationally, but we are every year more digitally oriented. In the digital world it is easier to target a specific prospect and make him feel part of an exclusive club of people that share the same attitude and lifestyle.
Do you co-brand with any other companies?
It happened in the past and it is still happening nowadays for some niche accessories, like a co-branded line of massagers in collaboration with the Chinese company Breo Technology or the recent capsule with the Italian Venini for high-end art glasses and chandeliers. Soon something new will be announced.
What is your own opinion on the dynamic between traditional third-party retailers (brick and mortar and e shops) versus the direct-to-consumer sales from your own site or those of your distributors? Do you have any type of hybrid strategy to maximize the potential for both platforms?
It is common sense now to affirm that the post pandemic outcome in sales will force every brand to reinforce their direct-to-consumer strategies and presence.
Nevertheless, consumer habits are very different globally and brick and mortar business will probably maintain a central role in showcasing the products especially for those active in the luxury field where purchase is driven not only by clicks and discounts, but mainly by one-to-one sales pitch and consistent evaluation from the consumer.
Our strategy includes both aspects. While we are building up a direct-to-consumer presence with the direct activation of flagship stores in the major marketplaces, we are now also finalizing the opening of mono-brand and corner stores thanks to local distributors and retailers.
By maintaining a direct control over D2C we also avoid prices conflicts locally with such third parties like retailers and we can moreover control the brand marketing investments strategies. This way we maximize both channels and we directly and carefully develop the brand identity.