PRecious in Marketing Interactive: D&G’s CNY Controversy

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Lars Voedisch highlights that D&G has to show that it is truly interested in understanding the Chinese consumers instead of just looking at it as a market.

Lars Voedisch highlights that D&G has to show that it is truly interested in understanding the Chinese consumers instead of just looking at it as a market.

Lars Voedisch, Founder and Managing Director of PRecious Communications was featured in Marketing Interactive’s ‘Branding News’ section on Feb 13, 2019, in an article titled ‘Should D&G have refrained from marketing during CNY with a new collection?‘ The brand unveiled its new collection called “The Chinese New Year Print”, which featured imagery of the pig to coincide with the Year of the Pig. Unfortunately, the line did not sit well with Chinese consumers, with many seeing it opportunistic.

Here is Lars’ comment as featured in Marketing Magazine’s article ‘Should D&G have refrained from marketing during CNY with a new collection?’

Lars Voedisch, managing director, PRecious Communications said the current situation that D&G landed itself in requires a rebuilding where the brand would need to actively acknowledge its mistakes, emphasise on empathy for the situation caused, and build trust by genuinely engaging with Chinese people. This could be through collaboration with local designers or sustainability initiatives and impactful charity activities that go beyond marketing stunts, Voedisch said.

He added that D&G could also engage journalists, influencers and celebrities individually to rebuild rapport, which will in turn help re-engage consumers. This strategy should include the option to directly interact with the founders for real, genuine conversations and not just corporate presentations.

The brand has to show that it is truly interested in better understanding the Chinese consumers instead of just looking at it as a market. While the Chinese luxury market is too lucrative to simply forgo and it is never soon enough for communications teams to embark on damage control, Voedisch said that changing sentiment and rebuilding trust will take time.

Lars Voedisch highlights that D&G has to show that it is truly interested in understanding the Chinese consumers instead of just looking at it as a market.

Lars Voedisch highlights that D&G has to show that it is truly interested in understanding Chinese consumers instead of just looking at it as a market.

Why Are We Talking About This?

The global luxury goods industry is on an upward trajectory for many years. In fact, the value of the personal luxury goods market worldwide was said to be 260 billion euros in 2018, affirming the ongoing era of a ‘new normal’. Over the past decade, China and in particular, Chinese consumers have taken the lead in luxury shopping.

Even despite the slowdown of the Chinese market, it is believed that the country will still surpass all other luxury markets during the next decades. Besides, Chinese consumers are among the youngest in the world, and highly savvy and sophisticated. Losing out on this section of consumers is a massive blow to D & G.

There is one factor that D & G, as well as others, must remember that consumers have a symbolic relationship with a brand. If they buy it out of love, then the brand must do everything to keep that love alive. If there are issues, they must be addressed credibly and transparently. And now with social media, any such issue between a consumer and brand is made public instantly. There are pictures posted, and negative comments float on social media that eventually harm the brand image, leading to massive damage.

It is essential to analyse the situation in a thorough manner, implement a digital strategy to help the brand think and act locally, and then focus on rebuilding brand equity. In D & G’s case, nothing of this sort was done. Even worse, by giving signals of deemphasising the Chinese market and its consumers – the exact opposite was done.

To turn this around, D & G will need to reconnect with their audience in China and heal their wounds. To begin with, they must start by gaining real-time insights about what consumers think and talk about the brand. Gradually, implementing a requisite strategy is essential – since the Chinese luxury market is too lucrative to forgo. After that, it’s best to wait and watch – changing sentiment and rebuilding trust does take time!

PRecious Tip for Effective Public Relations During CNY

Companies that choose to engage their audiences during CNY can enhance their reputation, build loyalty and boost sales. However, a poorly executed strategy could alienate a large group of stakeholders and undermine all other communication efforts. Here are five steps to ensure that your PR and communications strategy for the Chinese New Year is effective and impactful. #publicrelations #reputation #cny

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