An almost ten-years partnership between Audi Italia and Madonna di Campiglio. Two prominent names, both synonymous with prestige and elegance. Many years full of people, projects, events and initiatives uniting the excellence of the Audi brand with the majesty of this mountainous World Heritage site. What better place to experience both technology in motor vehicles and depth of emotion? We spoke with Fabrizio Longo, Brand Director for Audi Italy, to find out more.
When was Audi first drawn to Campiglio?
When I first came to Audi over two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how highly my German colleagues thought of Campiglio. In fact, when we set ourselves the goal of strengthening the company’s presence in the Alps, our headquarters in Ingolstadt immediately ranked Campiglio among the most prestigious locations to work within implementing a targeted international strategy. Today, our partnership is an example of Italian-German skill in bringing together apparently diverse approaches and methodologies. We owe this, in part, to those who saw this area as an example of the evolution of a new form of tourism, who have understood what people want and have understood the need to be open to new markets, but without losing sight of one’s identity. And this is essential for someone like me, who loves the pure, harsh reality of the mountains.
What led Audi to rely so heavily on Madonna di Campiglio, the pearl of the Brenta Dolomites?
It was a proposal of ours that they liked in Germany right from the start. We saw the potential to make the area Audi territory, a place that is rich with history and tradition and where power and performance come into play in a variety of ways, accompanied by a constant drive for improvement and an ever-present focus on the diverse range of customer needs. It is perfectly in tune with the features of our brand. In our view, this collaboration gives us the opportunity to solidify the evolution of Audi’s relationship with our customers. At Audi, we’re all about the product. It’s the key to making a name for ourselves in the marketplace. I love the pure, harsh reality of the mountains Conventional marketing can only get us so far along the road to promoting a new model, so we need to change up the way we communicate to use new channels and new approaches. We need to create an overall experience for the customer, not just a product, and this means immersing the customer in an environment made of all those intangibles we like to call “brand experience” or “delight experience”, and this includes exclusivity, excellence, and a constant attention to detail. This is what we are doing in Campiglio, a place where we have found an affinity in approach and in point of view.
What are some examples of this presence of Audi’s in Campiglio?
We have created a vibrant calendar of events to promote all of the features of our brand. We needed a way for people to experience the very genetic makeup of our brand in a tangible, engaging manner. For over 35 years Audi has based the success of our brand on cutting-edge technology. We asked ourselves how we could interact with customers in unconventional ways, and what we came up with was that they need a brand experience rooted in the pillars and values of that brand. But our engagement with the community also involves marketing and social media. One particularly successful exercise that we ran in the area was a video shot on the famous 3Tre World Cup run, which featured the high-performance Audi RS 6 going up against the Italian skier Max Blardone. Having a great time in the car, there was Gino Burrini, a skiing legend who hails from Campiglio. The unusual juxtaposition of two such different ingredients attracted a great deal of interest from both fans of skiing and the general public and provided excellent visibility for the brand. We chose Campiglio based on a sort of elective affinity. We talked about both us and you, about a world made up of more than just cars and drivers that is able to convey the broadest possible sense of belonging. Campiglio has all of the prestige, exclusivity and attention to detail needed to achieve all of this.
How is the success of this collaboration being evaluated?
You need to always be in touch with the times. The greatest threat to a business, in my opinion, is habit. Now and then, you need to step back and take a good hard look at a partnership to see if it’s still working based on what actually can be achieved within our “territories” of communication. Although a lot has already been accomplished, our work with Campiglio has been extremely satisfying.
We chose Campiglio based on a sort of elective affinityWhat does Audi consider to be key in selecting one location over another?
The strength and quality of a relationship are both indispensable. We’re sponsors for a range of sports, such as skiing, soccer and golf. In each area, we look for partners that are forward-looking, open to our approach, and always willing to try new things. So long as there is room for growth and development, a partnership can continue to be pursued and can be expanded over time. This “systemic” approach, which is not tied to any one partner, will be increasingly important as an enabling factor in these sponsorships.
What suggestions do you have for managing tourism in Campiglio, Pinzolo and Val Rendena?
We’ve talked at length about this on many a pleasant evening over the course of these last two years. Everyone involved needs to work together to really assess what has been done thus far. Ask questions. Analyze and evaluate without being afraid of taking risks and trying to see things from a different point of view. As I’ve said before, it’s important to set individual interests aside and focus on broader-based interests and benefits.
Any closing advice?
Planning. At Audi, we spend a lot of time planning. For hot-blooded Mediterraneans like us, it can be unnerving at times, but time spent planning is earned back with interest when it comes time to execute. A location that has a clear goal of positioning in mind is a guarantee for us. Teach people to see something new, a less stereotypical view of the mountains, one that leaves room for “informed” mountaineering to give a new dimension to our summers and winters. There is a highly trafficked Brenta, but discovering the paths less followed of Val di Genova, for example, is a truly special experience. There’s great potential to be explored, and if things keep going the way they have been, Audi will be here.
Audi and Madonna di Campiglio share a deep bond, one that embodies both exclusivity and dynamism. Audi’s partnership with this “Pearl of the Dolomites” has become something of a tradition, and Campiglio has been selected as one of the “homes of quattro”, a limited number of places with elegance and excitement that it takes for Audi performance to feel right at home.