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The BoF Podcast: Moncler CEO Remo Ruffini Talks ‘Genius’ Strategy

Speaking in conversation with Imran Amed, the chief executive of Moncler discusses the outerwear brand’s game-changing Genius strategy and why the company now feels more like a start-up.

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LONDON, United Kingdom — The last time Imran Amed sat down with Moncler Chief Executive Remo Ruffini, the brand had just gone public. Now, almost six years on, the outerwear label is making headlines for a different feat: Moncler Genius.

In what Ruffini refers to as a "monthly design and editorial project," the first iteration of Moncler Genius launched in February 2018 and entailed separate collaborations with eight designers — including Craig Green and Kei Ninomiya. Each collection was dropped over the course of the year, in a bid to do away with traditional seasonal presentations and appeal to the immediacy and frequency consumers crave in the age of Instagram.

"Content is very important," says Ruffini, sometimes more so than the product itself, because customers are looking for interaction more than ever.

In the first half of 2018, total corporate investment in Moncler reached €14.1 million (around $ 15.9 million), up from €5.5 million the year before, spent on a logistics hub in Piacenza, Italy and the development of information technology and omni-channel platforms, among other initiatives. The company says that the programme, which also involved a complete redesign of company structure, paid off; there was a spike in both online and store traffic, and sales in 2018 saw a 19 percent increase compared to the previous year. But how does Moncler balance the costs of brand-building with the short-term results expected of them as a public company?

For Ruffini, long-term strategy takes precedence: "for a [luxury] company like Moncler, if you care about the quarter, it's very dangerous." Now, with the company's Genius programme showing no signs of slowing down, he is fuelled by a sense of "energy" that both attracts and comes from the brand's newfound community of customers and online audience.

"I feel it's a bit like being in a start-up," says Ruffini, citing the challenges of Moncler's recent self-disruption. "Like any start-up there are many things to do... we always have to think about the next step."

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The State of Fashion: Technology