Yesterday morning I was fortunate enough to visit Diesels head office on 55 Argyle Street in London. Situated near Kings Cross station, it is not hard to see from the front of the building what company resides there, with the recognisable diesel logo plastered over the front of the building.
The reception proves how proud they are of the advertising campaign, Diesel Island. The walls are covered with iconic images of their adverts, and the props from shoots fill the corners of the room. It is clear to see they surround themselves with the campaign, but the overall atmosphere of the place is one of team spirit, with a relaxed, creative and chatty buzz to the place.
Hanging from the ceiling is the company motto -
Passion & Pride
Honesty, Integrity and Respect.”
Our contact got stuck on the tube, good in a way, it meant that as I sat waiting in the reception I could hear the conversations floating round, whilst pretending to read a copy of Esquire that was placed casually on the coffee table. Yesterday was I.D. day, the day new collections are released into the store. I heard talk of the relaunch of womenswer especially, with a concentration on luxury planned. The UK customer is now focusing on luxury products made to last, and Diesel sound like they will be responding to this with a new outlook on womenswear.
Our contact arrived, and we made our way to the top level first. This was a mezzanine, looking over the third floor which was filled with products for A/W12. I would have loved to have a closer look at this, but unfortunately there were a few meetings going on with prospective buyers so we couldn’t intrude. The overall look, particularly for menswear looked lighter, with a massive focus on bags and accessories by the looks of it.
We then moved on to the basement floor, somewhere for staff to chill out and have in house meetings. The first thing I noticed was an amazing idea: a tree made from denim, each branch representing a different team inside Diesel: retail, HR, IT etc. Hanging from the appropriate branch is a polaroid of each person on the team. Other things the room included was a TV and Xbox, lots of pictures and noticeboards and a rather Diesel-esque suggestion box. Down here we had a chance to ask a few questions. I found out a lot about how the business works, including the fact that Diesels Head Office is situated in Italy, and the London office is simply a franchise along with all the other countries. Buyers visit Italy to look at finished products, and choose the products which will sell the best in the UK market. This is via the MCM - the buying and marketing teams view the entire finished collections on the catwalk and choose their products.
It is key for buyers to understand their customer perfectly, and the UK customer is very different to any other. We then found out a bit about how the marketing and buying teams learn what products sell well with the UK customer, and I was surprised to hear how important social media is within this research. We were told how they gather information from social media such as facebook and twitter and simply the order in which we visit websites. If you look at Diesel 5th in a line of ten different retail websites, they research why you haven’t looked at them first and what websites came before them. This is how they will improve the products and services they offer, by researching their customers behavior and by identifying their main competitors.
Diesel has always been a company which concentrates on massive advertising campaigns, and this was clear when walking around the offices, with framed pictures of their previous campaigns and editorials. Now they are trying to change their products and image, it makes me wonder where their marketing will move on from here. If I was you, I would watch this space.
Also seen on: Opinion Panel