The story behind my favorite Entrepreneur.
Before jumping into why I admire so much the entrepreneur that Enzo Ferrari was, I would like to first define clearly what the notion of Entrepreneur means to me, as a college student in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Marketing.
The common perception of Entrepreneurship is that it is a combination of leadership and passion, but I believe that what distinguishes an Entrepreneur from the mass is his ability to create value in people and his Human Cognition.
Human Cognition describes all conscious and unconscious processes by which knowledge is accumulated, such as perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning. Human Cognition is central to entrepreneurial effectiveness.
I strongly believe that Entrepreneurs’ personal characteristics like Human Cognition are the most important factors for business success. Furthermore, I also believe that the ability to create value in people pushes the Entrepreneurs in the arms of other Entrepreneurs. Enzo Ferrari demonstrated his ability to capitalize on his personal skills more than any other entrepreneur.
Enzo Ferrari, born in 1898, son of an entrepreneur, academically uneducated boy from Modena, Italy ended up creating one of the strongest automobile companies in the world. The tangled path that Enzo Ferrari took to success began when his father’s carpentry business collapsed and he decided to search for a job in the car industry. Entrepreneurship is a mindset that is part of a Family’s DNA where family members should capitalize on it to develop it (check my other blog if interested in this subject). This is what Enzo did. He became an Alfa Romeo driver in 1924 but just five years later set up the Scuderia Ferrari where he gathered all racing drivers to compete. In 1947, Enzo Ferrari founded the company that bears his name in Maranello.
Enzo was never too interested in school but has always aspired to work in the car industry, and worked his way through it and created the most respected Italian company in the world.
At his young age, Enzo Ferrari spent much of his time frequenting coffee shops, getting to know people and making connections. He aimed at creating trust, fashion, roles, and maximizing personal relationships by sharing and learning. In fact, this is the human cognition factor that I previously underlined, and it is this same strength that has lead Enzo to find those people that believed in him- workers, drivers, and most importantly people who could finance his dream. This is the other side of the coin that made his dream possible.
A start-up, like Ferrari was at the beginning, needs an entrepreneur, needs a team, needs the wider possible help and support, and needs capital. Ferrari was in difficulties finding funding at the beginning and Ferrari was able (and lucky) to find a local banker who was as an entrepreneur like him and decided to fund the start-up just following Mr. Ferrari's vision and on the trust of his ability. We can say that Scuderia Ferrari was born thanks to the meeting of two entrepreneurs, Enzo Ferrari, and the banker.
The Banker accepted the risk because he trusted Enzo’s capabilities and the power of his dreams.
What impresses me is the ability with which Ferrari understood the importance of stakeholders as a key enabling factor, well in advance of the academic theoretical study and development of this concept! He had a natural leadership, a clear vision, a maniacal attitude toward the best product but it was clear to him that without the support of people his dream would have never come true.
Marketing is Strategy and Tactics. Marketing is the Reason why people will Remember your company at the end of the day. Marketing is Study and Emotional Bond with people you will sell to.
Enzo Ferrari knew all about this. He planned his entire life on it. He has been able to observe the market so deep that he had fit into the customers’ shoes for decades. He connected with people.
He connected with people’s emotions and created a brand that touched every Italian heart.
A brand where the logo spoke to people. The black prancing horse is the same exact horse that was painted on the fighter plane of Francesco Baracca- a heroic pilot of the first world war and an Icon for generations. The prancing black horse instantly spoke to people.
This way he connected with people’s emotions and created a brand that touched every Italian heart, a symbol where each Italian could recognize, thus transforming them in fans, i.e. stakeholders.
In 2002, a survey of more than 1000 top managers in twenty countries across the globe regarded Ferrari as the most respected Italian company in the world and for the past two years has been recognized the world’s strongest brand.
Here are my main take-aways:
- Never stop learning and collect as many experiences
- Dreams come true- only if you work on them
- Create value in people and capitalize on human cognition
- Stakeholders are a key competitive advantage, key for the enterprise success
This blog was written for a marketing class project.