Expert Insights: Andrea Tremolada
Chief Marketing Officer, GEOX
Aviation enthusiast and expert pilot, Andrea Tremolada loves challenges.
“I accepted this role with the same spirit and the same passion with which in 2000, when I was 33 years old, I flew across the Atlantic Ocean with the Falco aircraft I had built throughout 15 years”.
In line with the strategic guidelines of the brand and the policies and initiatives of business development and brand awareness, Andrea Tremolada is in charge of worldwide communication and global marketing projects for Geox Group.
From ADV to corporate communication and marketing. Can you explain us how your role evolved and what are the unique aspects of working in marketing compared with your previous experiences?
I have always been fond of visual arts, graphics, photography and videos, even at the very beginning of my working career, when I was a commercial pilot. On the one hand, self-taught, I dedicated my time to figurative arts, while on the other hand, there was my passion for flight. At a very young age, 22 years old, I became flight captain, but I soon realized that this monotonous job did not stimulate my creativity. I decided to go back to studying and started working as a freelance copywriter for different brands, imagining how I would have designed their communication campaigns. I conceived the “Sector – No Limits” campaign, meaning that I developed the project and presented it to a watchmaker. That was the first example of sport related advertising campaign, more specifically, related to extreme sports.
When I was 27-28 years old, in 1992 I went back to the United States and chose Miami because I love the sea. There I saw Gianni Versace’s house and thought: “I have never worked in fashion”. I therefore sent them my varied and assorted CV and they called me. I worked with Gianni Versace from 1994 to 1997: together we developed different products and we invented the advertising groupage, which proved very effective in those times when magazines used to simply “make fashion”.
As a freelance consultant I was then contacted by Salvatore Ferragamo, a brand I had always dreamt to work for seen my passion for shoes. For a certain period I worked at the same time for Gianni Versace, Tom Ford and Salvatore Ferragamo, then in 2006-2007, with the Michele Norsa appointment as CEO, I was asked to work exclusively for Ferragamo, leaving the other consultancies.
In 2013 I felt the need to take on a new challenge: despite the relationship with Ferragamo was solid and consolidated, I lacked the necessary motivation to rethink the company day after day.
Finally, after three years with Roberto Cavalli, characterized by several due diligences from investment funds interested in buying the brand, I arrived at Geox… my first experience with a large consumer brand.
At Geox I often handle the creative side of the brand: my goal and my challenge are now to make Geox a “cooler” brand, closer to young people and to the contemporary fashion scene.
Passion and ongoing challenges have always been trademarks of my life.
When did you understand that fashion was the right sector for you?
Fashion is funny, but I like creativity and communication. I like fashion because it renews and reinvents itself continuously. I often stop to ponder whether it is fashion that brings changes in society, on customs and habits or whether, on the contrary, it is society that sends signals of renewal to companies in the fashion industry… I enjoy doing creative exercises, thinking about a project and about how to develop it, should it be for a fashion brand, a watch, a social responsibility initiative or anything else. Everything is a challenge for me.
I like to sell dreams… a fridge or a shoe, regardless, it’s the storytelling you create around it that sells. Generally speaking, when I embrace a project and turn it into a challenge, even if as freelance, I work full time for the company that entrusts me.
My professional figure is more frequent in the United States than in Italy: actually, there is no translation for the term “entrepreneur” which is the representation of the entrepreneurial attitude within a company.
How has the footwear industry changed over the past 10 years?
Sneakers cover a large part of the market and the customs of formal dress code changed a lot: as an example we can take brands like Brioni, Church’s or Salvatore Ferragamo, that, until a few years ago, did not have a line of sneakers. Sports shoes use to be worn only for sport occasions.
The dressing behaviour changed… look at how much the use of the tie decreased!
Often shoes influence the final look: now people get dressed starting from the shoes and then climb up, while in the past the process was top down.
What do you see in the future of the footwear market?
More and more companies are getting into the footwear market because it is much easier to sell shoes than other accessories or garments. Consumers follow fashion trends and shoes becoming increasingly important, both in the male and female sectors. However, I believe that this sector still has room for growth and expansion of current markets.
Currently there is a gap between the school and job market. What do companies need and what could fashion schools do to better train young talents?
Frequently, creativity is the missing key aspect. During job interviews I always recommend young people to be aware that if they wish to fully express their creativity, they must always be independent and work as freelance professionals.
Another advice to young people is not to limit to web materials, but to leaf through paper resources. Schools should teach that the internet is not the only means available, but that the existing magazines’ paper archive which made fashion history, still represents a unique source of knowledge. Today general culture is missing, together with the habit of going to the library and leafing through books and magazines: in my opinion, moodboards created with internet searches are almost all identical and “flat”.
And then, of course, I my advice to young people is to be versatile, to travel, to live and experience a lot, so as to create ones’ very personal background.
How do the creative and business aspects match GEOX collections? Which are the professional figures and skills you mostly look for in Geox?
Geox is a giant with 1,300 stores worldwide, it is a very structured company that revolves around the very strong personality of its owner, a visionary who built this empire starting from an idea developed through more that 35 patents and numerous technologies. His enthusiasm and determination represent the source of inspiration that drives my objective of making contemporary a brand founded more than 25 years ago and that missed a phase of alignment with actual communication customs and practices.
I succeeded in changing the creative image of the brand, replacing the steam iron, the historic Geox icon. To support a company’s renewal and growth, it is important to break the mould… and, also, it is essential to work with people who see things differently and who are able to rework in an innovative way the state of the art.
Nowadays, the most wanted professional figures are those between e-commerce and digital. E-commerce is a very young business for all companies and therefore training and expertise in this field are very young.