Innovate to Survive: How to Win the Eternal Struggle to Not Become a Commodity



We live in a complex world, there are those who speak of a consumption crisis macroeconomic scenarios in contraction, and it is in front of everyone's eyes that the market has changed a lot globally in the last ten years. In Italy, the manufacturing and textile market has been perceived as being in perennial crisis for almost thirty years, and if you talk to insiders they will tell you that 'it's not like it used to be'.

Despite this, there are some textile industries that despite the crisis, despite increasingly fierce competition from our 'neighbours' on the Mediterranean coasts, despite an increase in the cost of raw materials and labour costs, have distinguished themselves and are thriving and are considered real excellences all over the world. You may wonder how is this possible? There are so many once established and renowned realities that seemed never to disappear... and instead!

There are many factors that determine the success or failure of a company over time, including the structure of the company itself, relocation, inter-generational transition, but dealing specifically with Marketing I will tell you the ones that in my opinion can really make a difference to success.

You have to be focused stop doing 'everything for everyone' look for a niche market and become specialised in that is the famous law of focus theorised by one of the greatest marketing experts of all time Al. Ries. The time for generalists is over. If you scroll through the list of companies that have unfortunately gone bankrupt you will find that most of them were generalists doing a lot of things for everyone and as they say "to please everyone is good for no one" and that is exactly what it is.

The second thing is innovation: 'Innovate to survive' this is the hard truth inspired by Darwin's law of evolution of the species. Like the dinosaurs that failed to evolve, your company risks not surviving if you fail to offer something unique and inimitable every collection that convinces your customers that they cannot do without buying it from you. Then you can also sell them the 95% of standard, basic production but the customer needs to have a good reason to buy from you, that 5% of fabrics/special garments that probably won't make you rich but that will convince them that you have that something extra and that you are someone who not only knows the trends but is also an innovator. If you are perceived as a commodity, the battle will always and only be about price, and I can assure you that it is a battle lost at the start, especially for small and medium-sized industries.

You are probably thinking now "innovation costs money" "I don't have the machinery" "we have always done basic things" "I don't want to stock too many fabrics" "how can I be innovative? " You probably don't even have a marketing department in your company and most of the time it is the salespeople who communicate your company's value proposition through products. Initially we also had this problem, I found myself selling chemicals for fashion fabrics that had a few cents per kg attached to them and it was a losing battle because chemicals are perceived by everyone as a commodity and without thinking about the other side of the coin, namely fashion, it was impossible to have a dialogue with everything that happened afterwards. And that is how Liberty 4 Fashion was born.

Maybe this is the first article you read and I have not introduced myself yet I am Corrado Manenti and I am in marketing, what is my job? in two words 'creating value' and communicating it. Sometimes it is difficult to explain what we do, because we actually do it ourselves. My usual client is a company that produces fabrics or garments for third parties that finds itself in a punitive and hyper-competitive market where the big brands dictate the rules and it is difficult if not impossible to compete on price.

So how do I do it? I take fabric bases that are already in stock or in the collections and transform them by adding value. This can be done with two printing and plating techniques that guarantee great versatility and above all the possibility of infinite technical combinations and variants. I take your fabrics, transform them, give them back to you and build a marketing base so that you and your agents can present them effectively to your customers. As I told you before, I have to propose something that, in addition to the 'WoW' effect, is consistent with the trends of the moment and respects the language of fashion, which is why our team is made up of a large number of professionals, each with their own skills.

This approach is only one of the possible approaches to innovation, but if you think about it, it is one of the cheapest. You can turn cheap fabrics into speciality fabrics, all without filling your warehouse with new basics, without having to manage the logistics of printing and finishing, without having to worry about expensive consultants or trend books.

You could absurdly not even have an in-house style department and still be perceived as a true innovator, because the real battle to get people to buy from you is fought (even before the market) in the mind of the potential customer.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top