Thank you Moto Guzzi
They used to say there's no “mandellese” (habitant of Mandello, a small town located on the eastern shore of Lake Como) without at least one relative working at Moto Guzzi.
It's a commonplace that I've never particularly liked. Maybe because it's not very inclusive but more likely because it made me feel like a strange exception.
After all, with a Tuscan mother and a father from Veneto, there was very little “mandellese” in me. I wasn't even born in Mandello.
And yet, passionate that I was about engines, every time I passed by that red gate I thought that one day or another I would contribute to the legendary motorbike factory that I was lucky enough to have as a fellow citizen.
So, back in my school days, when one of my professors asked me if there was any particular brand on which I wanted to focus my thesis on, the answer was obvious. The answer was so obvious that in an extremely natural way I suggested that it would have been necessary for me to add a period of apprenticeship in the company. And so, on the spur of the moment, the teacher wrote a letter of reference which I personally delivered to Via Parodi the same day. A few weeks later I joined the company as a humble intern full of enthusiasm. As a side effect, I felt definitively adopted by the same country where I had basically grown up. I was beaming, or so I felt.
Almost 16 years have passed since that day. I can't say that I contributed to the development of the company during my brief internship, if anything it’s the other way round: Guzzi contributed to my professional and personal development.
And so, for its centenary which falls exactly today, I want to say thank you again. Thank you Moto Guzzi.
And a special thank you goes to all those who welcomed me in the company back in the summer of 2005: Stefania Galli, Fabio Censuales, Lara Valenti, Diego Manzoni, Gabriella Stropeni, Serafino Valsecchi and Fulvio Parisatto who sadly passed away only a few years later.
I almost forgot: since I've been married I've acquired a relative who was a designer at Moto Guzzi. I couldn't be more “mandellese”.
1) Sometimes the value of a brand is built independently of the company's marketing strategy.
In this case it is the story and the product itself that make the brand. The Guzzi myth developed when Kotler was still learning to speak, and even afterwards marketing has never been the focus of the Mandello del Lario-based company, yet the Guzzi brand continues to fascinate hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists around the world.
2) A strong brand can save the whole company in difficult times.
Moto Guzzi's troubled corporate history has seen dark years, where product reliability had dropped to unacceptable levels and their spirit of innovation had been completely suppressed. If the company survived those years, it was due to the enthusiasts who continued to remain loyal to the Guzzi brand as such.
My favorite Guzzi classics:
Moto Guzzi Stelvio (2007 - 2016)
Moto Guzzi Griso (2005 - 2016)
Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 (1992 - 1999)
Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans (1976 - 1978)
Credits: - English version by Paris Nobile