Diesel

Have you ever heard of passion in the marketing mix? How about people? Those two Ps never seem to figure alongside the famous four which you, will of course, know by heart. This case study shows that having the depth of passion and the right people are crucial missing links in binding the regular Ps together.

Diesel builds its entire existence around the passion for what it does. With a founder who sees his work as an art and not a science, the company has redefined how a brand sees and communicates with its customers since 1978. It is the Diesel story we will look at in this case study.

Diesel is a global clothing and lifestyle brand. With a history stretching back over 30 years, the company now employs some 2,200 people globally with a turnover of €1.3 billion and its products are available in more than 5,000 outlets. However, this list of numbers is far less interesting than the company, people and founder behind them. Diesel is a remarkable company with a unique mindset. A mindset which puts sales and profit second to building something special, something ‘cool’ and something which can change the world through fashion.

The story begins with a young Renzo Rosso passionate about the clothes he wears but disappointed in the options available to him in his home town Molvena, Italy. Acting on impulse, he decided to use his passion to make the clothes he wanted to wear. Renzo was drawn to the rebellious fabric of the 1960s and rock & roll: denim. It inspired him to create jeans which would allow him and others to express themselves in ways other clothing simply could not.

Proving popular, Renzo made more and more of his handcrafted creations, selling them around Italy from the back of his little van. The still-young Renzo is the proud owner and CEO of Diesel along with that impressive list of figures. That impulse and passion apparently paid off.
Diesel sells nice jeans. Close, but no ‘A’. Actually, it’s not that close. The reason Diesel has grown is because it knows it is about a lot more than selling nice jeans. Diesel is a lifestyle: if that lifestyle appeals to you, you might like to buy the products. Renzo describes this as an end of the ‘violence’ towards the customer forcing them to buy and rather an involvement in the lifestyle.
The brand

It might be useful to ask a question – what actually is a brand? The answer could take a variety of routes and go on for pages but a useful way to think of a brand is as a set of promises. Those promises form the basis of the customer’s relationship with that company. In the case of Diesel those promises are very personal, very passionate.

The Diesel brand promises to entertain and to introduce customers to new, experimental experiences. Its product line now goes far beyond premium jeans and includes fragrances, sunglasses and even bike helmets. These products complement, convey and support the promises of passion and experience made by the Diesel brand.

Being such a crucial element of its work you might imagine the product design team at Diesel to ‘plot’ in something akin to a war room, pushing little squadrons of well-dressed soldiers around with long sticks. Actually, this is where that elemental passion which created Diesel sets them apart from many others. The whole team at Diesel lives the brand. They are all incredibly passionate about their creations. So when it comes to expressing that passion, ideas come naturally.