Corporate museums and experiential marketing


Corporate museums allow brands to tell about their story, creating value for themselves and their territories.

“Healthy institutions don’t neglect their past — they understand it both as a resource and an opportunity”. That’s Washington Post about corporate museums, sort of investments many businesses are making to nurture their heritage, share experiences and historical memories, get ready for the future by bridging from past to innovation. The trend is well lively in Italy: Museimpresa, the association backed by Assolombarda and Confindustria, represents over 80 museums, archives and foundations (40% are based in Lombardy) that preserve the story of their owners.

There are popular brands such as Museo Ducati in Borgo Panigale, MUMAC – Museo della Macchina per Caffè by Gruppo Cimbali in Milan, Museo Fila in Biella, or Aboca Museum in Sansepolcro. But there are also smaller, highly successful cases, including Museo Nazionale Ferroviario di Pietrarsa in Portici, managed by Fondazione Ferrovie dello Stato, Museo della Liquirizia “Giorgio Amarelli” in Rossano Calabro, or Museo della Giostra e dello Spettacolo Popolare in Rovigo, supported by carousel manufacturers from Bergantino.

Corporate museums stem from experiential marketing, thus focusing on the stakeholder to design an experience and appealing contents to create brand intimacy and emotional engagement. They are perfect for content marketing, specifically for brand heritage marketing since viable for long-established businesses, organisations with historical archives, or valid collections.

But corporate museums are not merely about corporate storytelling. Their value goes far beyond the company, moving towards the generation and distribution of that entrepreneurial culture which is so relevant for ‘Made in Italy’. They can host trainings and programs for students and young talents from different industries, creating networks with start ups and other local businesses.

They can even contribute to territory promotion, being destinations for industrial tourism. Corporate museums’ figures are increasing: in Italy, Museimpresa estimates about 1 million overall visitors every year, with record cases such as Poli Museo della Grappa (150k visitors per year), Museo Piaggio in Pontedera (57k visitors), and Museo Ducati (40k visitors). And their financial outcome should not be ignored, given Museo Amarelli reported indirect sales for Eur 1 million, that is 25% of the company’s annual turnover.


In the picture: a piece from Museo Collezione Branca in Milan.