The newco is born of the experience of the editorial network i-Italy, which for over 10 years has been covering all things Italian in English for Americans, and of the Colavita Group, a leading force of the Italian food industry and one of the main importers and distributors of Italian products in the US.
Your Italian Hub will offer a portfolio of personalized communication services to Italian companies operating in or looking forward to the American market.
From Information to Communication
“With i-Italy we have always provided Americans with an integrated image of Italy: its products, its culture, its territory. Throughout the years, our medium evolved from pure provider of information to a producer of communication, reaching hundreds of thousands of Americans who really have their own Italian Dream. Today, we bring this experience into a larger and more ambitious reality that we are calling Your Italian Hub,” explained Letizia Airos, the network’s editor-in-chief and co-founder of the new agency along with entrepreneurs Enrico and Giovanni Colavita, journalist Francesca Di Matteo, business consultant Paolo Siniscalco, and Professor Ottorino Cappelli.
Your Italian Hub’s approach is innovative and strategic. It will propose an open structure in which to “unite and coordinate different skills and expertises available to work as a team,” affirmed Letizia Airos. She was echoed by Francesca Di Matteo: “Our Hub includes internal and external professional figures who can collaborate in communicating and promoting the best of Italy and of Italian products. We will do that by adopting two approaches that are strategic when you communicate in a foreign country: cultural mediation and a sartorial approach. As cultural mediators, we will not simply translate into English the promotional language used by our clients in Italy, but rather we will adapt it to the tastes, the mentality, the needs of the American public; like skilled couturiers, we will create a personalized communication, tailored to fit, not ready-made. The era of mass, standardized communication is over!”
At the core of the new agency are communication and internationalization: two terms, which the director of the Italian Trade Agency in New York Maurizio Forte defined as inseparable. “The US is the third destination market for Italian products, and yet, with the exception of the Coasts and of Texas, the knowledge of Italian products is still very limited,” he affirmed. “This because in the traditional model followed by many companies and sometimes by Italian institutions as well, production comes first and is followed by distribution and only later does one think about communication. Today, it can no longer be that way. Communication must be put at the center. Communication should come right after production.”
In full agreement, Giovanni Colavita, CEO of Colavita USA, who as an importer and distributor of major Italian brands finds the lack of communication to be the real problem for Italian companies on the international market. “My experience has shown me that too often even big brands, outstanding representatives of Made in Italy, have difficulty positioning themselves abroad. The illusion that being big at home means being automatically known everywhere else is what pushes them towards the worst possible mistake: not investing in adequate communication. Copy-pasting the Italian communication plan and transcribing it into a foreign language creates irreversible damage.”
It’s this realization that made the Colavita Group take on this new challenge with Your Italian Hub. As the family “patriarch” Enrico said: “I always believed that it is vital for the internationalization of Italian companies to learn how to develop a communication strategy tailored to the target market. For this reason - Enrico Colavita concluded - together with my children, nieces and nephews, we decided to become co-founders of Your Italian Hub.”
Communicating With Younger Generations
Young Americans are a fundamental target for Italian products and Italian culture. 23-year-old journalist Roberta Cutillo clearly described the steps to take and the mistakes to avoid in order to communicate with them. First of all, forgoing the illusion that you can reach young people using exclusively social media. “We shouldn’t underestimate the power of personal interaction,” she maintained. “Amongst younger generations there is an increasing desire for different experiences, special events, pop-ups. There needs to be a physical presence.” She then concluded: “Young people in particular are reacting to the increasingly impersonal and confused surplus of information by which they are being submerged, they’re looking for something more than yet another news provider, they want a point of reference they can trust, one they can identify with. Your Italian Hub promises to be just that, and to tell the story of today’s Italy, an Italy that has changed and continues to change and grow.”
Two Projects for the Hub
Ottorino Cappelli, Professor at the Orientale University in Naples and director of Rome’s Link Campus University’s Masters program “Internationalization and communication of the Sistema Paese,” presented two special projects which follow the cooperative “hub” philosophy. The first, in collaboration with Link Campus University, is to hold a course of their Master in New York, open to young Italians who live in the States and want to learn the techniques for projecting Italy to the world. The second is an innovative digital business networking platform for connecting entrepreneurs, managers, and professionals from the two sides of the Atlantic, realized by the Italian startup "Italica s.r.l". Your Italian Hub will collaborate with Italica in the implementation of such network in the United States.