D&G Go Home Now! : Cultural Sensitivities, Local Awareness, and Customer Relations for Luxury Brands Operating Overseas

Research output: Scholarly Books, Monographs, Reports and Case Studies (RGC: 11, 13, 14, 48, 49)49_Written teaching case study or extensive notepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


This case investigates the controversy surrounding the luxury Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana’s (D&G) response to a customer incident in Hong Kong in early January 2012, as a way of highlighting the need for forward planning to prepare organizations to deal with an unexpected incident. The case identifies a range of issues for luxury brands expanding into the Asia Pacific region, including the protection of a brand’s intellectual property, awareness of, and accommodation to local cultural sensitivities and cultural alignment in strategic brand management. It also examines how a fashion brand, due to poor customer care and lack of stakeholder awareness, found itself at the center of a much wider sociocultural concern in the territory, given the new spending power and increasing presence of the emerging Chinese consumer. Initially Hong Kong shoppers, and subsequently investigative reporters, were prevented from taking photographs of the windows and interior of the Kowloon-based D&G flagship store, whereas customers from overseas and mainland China were apparently allowed to do so. The story was reported by local, regional, and global media as the crisis rapidly escalated, generating significant negative coverage for the brand. The incident snowballed involving debate on hundreds of negative Facebook posts and other social media sites and resulting in two protest marches outside the Hong Kong store. With no apparent coordinated crisis management response, the incident appeared to be spiralling out of control. The case asks students to consider the range of options open to D&G when responding to the initial incident and subsequent PR crisis to contain the situation and minimize the damage to their brand image and reputation

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