...Regardless of the responses these brands have made after being called out by millions on social media, Greg Petro, CEO and founder of technology company First Insight, suggested the damage to these brands in China could already be done. Take Dolce & Gabbana, for example. In November the brand drew criticism for an advertising campaign, to promote the brand’s upcoming Shanghai runway show, that depicted an Asian woman attempting to eat American food with chopsticks. Following the incident, the brand tried to place blame for the campaign on hackers, which drew even more backlash on social media. A recent report from Quartzy noted the brand is still struggling from the backlash, with its social media engagement down 98% year-over-year in China.
“These retail misfires continue to happen because of ignorance and carelessness. The brand’s image is obviously tainted, and thanks to social media, the damage is greater and often inflicted literally overnight. Brand equity and loyalty take years to build, but they can be destroyed in an instant by one bad product decision,” said Petro. “It’s hard for retailers and brands to recover from such careless retail blunders in any market, but they’re particularly unfortunate where relations are already strained, as is the case here with the ongoing trade tensions with China.”