Negative Message

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Analysis of Issues
One can draw a line between the current situation described in the case and the period of 1997-2001. Two economic meltdowns, 1997 Asian financial crisis and 2008-2012 global recession, are at the background as the executive chairman of Shanghai Tang Raphael Le Manse has to make decision regarding a creative director position. During the both times, Le Masne longed for a change in a creative aspect of Shanghai Tang. In 2001 he was in search for a totally creative direction for the brand in order to overcome the challenges and turn the sales figures towards a rising course. In 2006 he asks himself how he would evolve the design and style to ensure economic turbulence doesn’t sweep Shanghai Tang off. As the company was in financial trouble and needed a new creative strategy the executive chairman was at the helm with a crucial decision to make.

7 years ago the result was an offer of the creative director position to Joanne Ooi who for the upcoming year became the unit of support to the executive chairman. Ooi and Le Manse discussed and debated about the brand, its image and reflection of China in its collections. Joanne was the person who would provide the theme for the season and elaborate on it by giving feedbacks to designers on a regular basis. Ooi was indeed “at the center of the design team” and demonstrated the importance and strength in having a creative director in the organization.

The case clearly demonstrates the preference differences of two different markets that Shanghai Tang operated within. Although the luxury brand positioned itself as a provider of fusion of “Chinese culture and contemporary elements” which resulted in wearable items, the Chinese customers favored more Western styles. As for the European consumer, he was looking for traditional Chinese facets in the design. These differences represented the challenge of subjugating the Chinese market and expanding into other attractive markets...
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