On September 16, GRLA had the honor of hosting Alessandro Bogliolo, Tiffany & Co.’s CEO.
Mr. Bogliolo has been the CEO of Tiffany for the past year, and has invigorated the brand with his sense of newness and immeasurable experience, outcome of many years in C-Suite positions of companies such as Bvlgari, Sephora, and Diesel. With his charisma and Italian charm, Mr. Bogliolo enticed his audience to the fantasy of the world of Tiffany & Co. and the luxury industry. Throughout the talk, he touched upon the many enigmas of cultivating a tradition behind a 181-year-old brand while speaking the language of the fast-changing 21st century.
As described by Mr. Bogliolo, for a company in the luxury industry, the brand is the company’s most important asset. According to him, through branding one can create a special tie to customers, resulting from the creation of “trust through a promise.” The metaphor used by Mr. Bogliolo to describe this phenomenon is as follows: the brand is like the DNA of a person. It is the backbone to everything else the company will create. The brand defines the company, however the experiences and environment the brand goes through add to the company. In successful, long-lasting companies they do so while remaining loyal to the brand. Just like a book that continues to be written every day.
What makes Tiffany & Co. a successful brand? Here is a sneak-peek into its keys to success:
Keeping up with Millennials
In 1886, Tiffany & Co. introduced the modern engagement ring as we know it, the six-prong Tiffany Setting, so iconic still today it is immortalized as the ring emoji. When the Tiffany Setting was introduced, couples proposed at a young age; and since that time Tiffany & Co. has historically kept up with the trends of the young. In addition, as a New York brand, Tiffany & Co. values inclusivity. In the recent years inclusivity, has played a crucial role in changing the approach to marriage in modern society. As society evolves, so does Tiffany & Co. To Mr. Bogliolo, it was extremely important for the company to think between the lines. Tiffany’s May 2018 campaign, “Believe In Love,” represented a conceptual shift. Tiffany & Co.’s message is that a diamond ring does not represent engagement, it is a symbol of love. Love, regardless of age, regardless of gender, regardless of anything.
Not only did Tiffany adapt the meaning behind the iconic diamond ring, it also freshened up the famous Breakfast At Tiffany’s moment. The 57-year-old movie, inspired by Truman Capote’s novel, was recreated to speak the language of the Millennials. A long movie became a short video. Elle Fanning is the face of the campaign, giving the character of Audrey Hepburn a hip new flare. Instead of a chic black dress, Fanning wears a Tiffany-blue hoodie. The song “Moon River,” was mixed into a rap, to represent today’s culture of New York.
These two campaigns mark an audacious period of change for Tiffany & Co. as it strives to capture the vibrant spirit of New York, celebrating a new generation of luxury, while being faithful to its heritage in elegance, craftsmanship, and inclusivity.
Since their start, Tiffany & Co. has always been committed to sustainability. Their success, as Mr. Bogliolo explains, is partly thanks to earth and its precious resources, which provide both design inspiration and precious materials to create their exceptional jewelry. He strongly believes that Tiffany has the moral obligation to give back to the planet and its communities. Moreover, Mr. Bogliolo spoke about their consciousness with regards to mining and how the mines are selected, as they want to be sure about the source of the diamond. He explained that the company buys their diamonds as rough and then 3,000 Tiffany artisans cut and polish them, which contributes a positive social and economic impact, as well as ensuring superlative craftsmanship.
Since the beginning of its history, Tiffany has always been “truthful to its DNA” as Mr. Bogliolo explains. The company was completely different from other jewelry stores in New York, since they were the first to have fixed prices on all their products. They have always been extremely proactive in addressing counterfeits to protect its consumers and the Tiffany & Co. brand. Firstly, Tiffany sells only in Tiffany & Co. stores and Tiffany.com ecommerce websites. If a product is sold in other locations, then it must be second-hand or a counterfeit. The company wants to avoid people buying fake products thinking that they are real, and it is very important for Tiffany & Co. that the customer has the knowledge of its authenticity. Moreover, it is extremely hard to make an exact copy of the design, due to the superb craftsmanship behind it. Even though Tiffany & Co. is extremely proactive in dealing with IP infringements, Mr. Bogliolo in a very positive way has shown that being copied is a sign of success.
Bogliolo’s tip: Skills to becoming a great leader
To satisfy the curiosity of the audience, Mr. Bogliolo shared what he believes is the key to success of any great leader: being a citizen of the world. He believes that there are many things that one can learn, but that the sense of truly understanding the world, nobody can teach you. To succeed in today’s truly globalized environment, one needs to acquire a truly global sense of perspective. According to him, he sees himself as a chameleon. “I adapt to the person in front of me. However, it is not that my nature changes, but part of me just adjusts to the environment,” he explained. As a leader, one will deal with a multiplicity of people and cultures. The most important point is to be yourself, but develop an ability to empathize and truly interact with the world.
Alessandro Bogliolo greatly impressed us with his success in the past years and with the sense of newness he brought to Tiffany. Thanks to his charisma, his understanding of the world and his ambitions, he is a role model to look up to and by whom to be inspired.
Thank you to Alessandro Bogliolo and the Tiffany & Co. team for such an incredible first event of the year - you have set the bar high!
Below is a Recap video of the event!