Resolving Tensions among Creative Departments through Brand Identity Definition: The Case Study of Pininfarina

Gérald Mazzalovo


In 2007, the famous Italian car design firm Pininfarina decided to develop its own mono-branded finished goods business. The jump from exclusively B2B activities to B2C was a major strategic move. The project initiated with the formalization of a possible brand identity as being the necessary preliminary exercise. Through the study of all the design activities over 80 years of history and following a semiotic approach, brand aesthetics and ethics invariants were identified.

Four different design teams were involved in the project and 5 main findings were identified in the course of the project:

Tensions exist among the various design teams because of the lack of coherence in design and each pretends to interpret the brand in a more consistent way

The creative teams feel the need for a well-defined and formalized brand identity, providing some missing common creative guidelines characterizing he brand

The design teams participated actively and enthusiastically to the process of brand identity definition

The President’s positive attitude towards the project and his direct involvement have been essential in the project success

The tensions among the design teams have decreased by the brand identity definition process and results

The study had direct academic and operational implications:

It proved the validity of the semiotic approach to the formalization of brand identity

A diagnostic tool was created to measure the degree of consistency of any designed brand manifestation (car, advertising, architecture, car show installations…) with respect to the defined brand ethics and aesthetics.

Finally, Pininfarina presented a special concept car (Sintesi) at the Geneva car show in 2008 that integrated all the elements of the newly defined brand identity.

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Business and Management Studies     ISSN 2374-5916 (Print)     ISSN 2374-5924 (Online)

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