ITALY - Tourism
President and CEO, Diadora S.p.A.
Enrico Moretti Polegato is President and CEO of Diadora, leading Italian sport brand. For more than 70 years, Diadora has developed and marketed products both for competitive sports and for non-athletic/leisure activities. Founded in 1948 in Caerano di San Marco (Treviso), Diadora is currently present in more than 68 countries. Since July 2009 Diadora has been controlled by L.I.R., holding company owned by the Moretti Polegato family. Since 2008, Enrico Moretti Polegato has also been Vice President of Geox S.p.A. Born in Asolo (Treviso) in 1981, Enrico Moretti Polegato earned a law degree from the University of Padua. In 2008 he became a member of the bar. Since 2004, after working first for the legal office and then for the investor relations and internal auditing office, he has been on the Board of Directors of Geox. Since 2008 he has been a member of the General Board Committee of the Central Veneto Industrial Association, and since 2018 he has been a member of the Unicredit Bank Territorial Council for the Northeastern Region of Italy.
It has been challenging, but interesting as well. After I took over Diadora in 2009-2010, we were asked to participate in the relaunch of this historic brand. We took the challenge for three main reasons. First, the reason why the brand lost its popularity was not because of the brand itself but because of issues within the company. Second, we realized how much the brand meant for the region and for the history of sports and Italian craftsmanship, and I did not want all this know-how and authenticity to be lost. Third, on a more personal note, I wanted to have my own business experience with my own team without being viewed as the son of the owner. After 10 years of facing numerous challenges, the dream of bringing new life to the brand has been realized, and the results so far have been positive.
The essence of “Made in Italy“ is what Diadora is as a brand. The brand and consumer environment have been changing rapidly and I firmly believe that a brand is not identified by a logo anymore, but rather by the brand value the stakeholders can identify with. People are not just looking for a product, they are looking for an experience. Diadora’s values are authenticity, sports, and Italian craftsmanship. Focusing on the Italian aspect first, Diadora has for long been the preferred choice of sportspeople around the world. When we took the brand over, we identified this Italian style as a key differentiating factor. We have Italian design in all our products and we decided to invest in this brand value by re-shoring part of our production. Our re-shoring project’s main success is that it is considered as coherent and quintessential as Diadora.
Going international was our choice; we were not forced into it. Since we took over, the Italian market has been growing at the same pace as foreign markets. The big surprise has been the response in the US market, which we entered in 2017. The results have been great because the brand’s authentic Italian image and concept have been recognized by the US market. Surprisingly, our most successful product lines have been our super-technical running shoes. This segment is one of the toughest to break into in the US, but we were able to succeed due to Diadora’s clear identity and brand differentiation.
We are constantly working to improve our websites’ experience through collaboration with buyers and companies. We launched our Tmall e-shop during an event hosted together with Roberto Baggio, a long-standing friend and supporter of Diadora and a sporting icon. He is also considered an icon in Veneto because he is from Vicenza, but also in other parts of the world, such as Asia. Thus, he was able to promote our brand value in China.
Sometimes we get the meaning of innovation wrong. We tend to identify innovation with products, rather than with processes or simply as a way to be. We have some innovative products, but Diadora is also very innovative in the way we are leading the company. The mean age in the company is 38 years and we run the company as millennials, from our working schedule to how we share our spare time and interact with each other.
The most important one is called Blueshield, which is present in running shoes. Our innovation team created it as the first technology to adapt to the foot rather than the other way around. Some people have pronation and others supination depending on whether they run with the internal or external part of the foot. Generally, in the market you find shoes that either correct your posture as a pronator or as a supinator. With our Blueshield technology, the innersole has an internal foam nucleus that adapts to and corrects your posture regardless of whether you are a pronator or supinator because the nucleus adapts to you.
We have an internal sustainability department and everyone has been working with them on various projects, starting from the energy efficiency of our headquarters. At present, half of our energy is supplied by renewables, specifically solar power. All of our supply-chain is evaluated by EcoVadis and we and other players are setting a good example by acquiring gold certification from them.
It is a matter of being in a territory where there is a certain huge know-how about our industry. At Diadora, we promote a sportswear environment that complements our international outlook on athletics.
Competition is a challenge because we have to compete with other sportswear producers from other countries like the US and China. The other factor is that we have to compete or coexist with a consumer, business, and production environment that is rapidly changing. Under such circumstances, it’s important for a company to stay true to its roots and leverage its strengths, especially in foreign markets, while maintaining a flexible mindset. We have to be able to resonate internationally, but we also have to remember that our background is our strength.
We will go on investing in our brand values. We will continue to present our 71 years of history, while continuing to invest in new products and innovations with a fresh approach to the market.
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