Spotlight On: Elena Bernardelli, Marketing Director Fiat UK

Elena Bernardelli, Marketing Director Fiat UK


Name: Elena Bernardelli

Age: 46

Company/Position: Marketing Director Fiat UK

What University did you attend? University of Turin – Italy

What was your major? Mathematics

Did you always want to get into marketing?

Not really, during my studies I wanted to be a teacher, but then I started working in Fiat and marketing quickly became my daily passion.

First internship?

6 months of Marketing and Commercial ISVOR Fiat, a very qualified Fiat internal Master for new employee with university degree.

First job?

Automotive Market and trend analysis, Customer Segmentation

What lessons did you learn from your previous work experiences?

My career has always been in Fiat, with several different roles; always dealing in a very competitive, complex and challenging market; it’s key to understand and respect the customer needs, being the car the 2nd most important purchase in a person’s life.

Best piece of career advice you have ever received?

Always believe in your ideas, always push them to the limit, but always with detailed and specific back up to support them

How did you land your position at Fiat?

Working hard and always defending my ideas and positions.

What does your job entail?

Define marketing positioning for all Fiat models in UK, which means develop all marketing leverages, like product, price, promotion and advertising.

Describe a typical day in your shoes:

I get to the office at 9am; first thing is a progress meeting with my team to agree task and priorities for the day, then usually I have several internal meetings with the other directors of the company or call conferences with the HQ in Italy to share activities and strategies. Quick lunch and in the afternoon meetings with external agencies or follow up with my team. After 6pm it’s time for the emails and plan for the following day. Finally around 8pm back home.

How do you create your marketing strategies for Fiat?

To understand customers needs is key in my role; I always want to understand which are the reasons why somebody decide to buy a competitor’s car instead of a Fiat one; sometimes just observing people you can understand a lot …the M4 where I queue every morning to get to the office is a big source of inspiration…

What role do you think social media plays into the success of business?

It’s the future of all businesses; if you want to connect with your customers or prospects you need to invest in social media, the biggest and most transparent and honest world of mouth channel.

How was it like being a woman entering the work force?

It has always been quite difficult; the automotive industry is well known to be a “men” environment, as only men are expected to understand what a car is; this is clearly not true, most of the decisions in the household at the end are took by the women, so it’s important to be able to connect with them….being a woman this is really helpful

How do you balance work and your personal life?

Splitting the 2: Monday 9am to Friday 6pm is work, Friday 6pm to Monday 9am is personal life.

Did you move to London to pursue a career in marketing?

Actually not as I moved to London for personal reasons, but then I quickly realized it’s the best place in the world to enjoy being a marketer.

Your biggest accomplishment at Fiat?

The launch of Fiat 500 in the UK market; starting from a brand mostly recognized for small economic and functional cars, the challenge was to change this perception and sell a small car as a cool object to own; if you walk around London and you count how many Fiat 500 you see I think you can agree we made it!

What was your largest challenge in reaching your position today?

To bring a feminine approach in a men focused world. And I think the great results Fiat 500 achieved in UK, are also due my team strong feminine approach.

Any advice for young women entering the marketing industry?

Stealing few words from the most famous revolutionary in the world:  “To be firm without ever losing the tenderness of love”.