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Italian food giant creates a brand cause and cultural hub

June 30, 2005

A few weeks ago, Influx suggested that some brands should build “cultural hubs”; places that act as beacons to connect the community to the brand. Cultural hubs are just one example of brands going beyond the expected to make a connection.

Barilla, the Italian food manufacturer, is doing something similar with Academia Barilla; an institution dedicated to the preservation and education of real Italian cuisine. The company has taken on a cause and committed a considerable investment to it.

The Academia is a complete brand experience. Located in Parma, the birthplace of Italian food, the center features a huge kitchen, a 90-seat demonstration theater and a 6,500 volume gastronomic library. It runs courses and has its own special line of foods.

Barilla has made a serious commitment with the Academia, one that works on so many different levels:

1. It gives the brand a cause to get behind- Barilla clearly states it doesn’t regard spaghetti and meatballs as Italian food and they want to protect the integrity of real Italian cuisine
2. It provides a cultural hub- a physical location for the cause
3. It allows the brand to introduce premium line extensions
4. It presents the brand as a thought leader
5. Barilla’s important customers can be entertained and educated at the Academia- and
return home as brand evangelists

If brands develop a cause and a cultural hub they can create something really powerful and differentiating.

Do you know your brand’s cause?

Does it even have one?

Can you visualize your brand’s cultural hub?

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