December 15, 2015
Italian luxury conglomerate Prada Group is letting its consumers see its company with new eyes thanks to a dedicated microsite.
Csr.pradagroup.com provides a window into the group’s social responsibility initiatives, from its revitalization of old plants and a tannery to its measures to combat climate change. Both transparency and showcasing positive values are attractive to younger consumers, but even if that were not the case, such responsibility comes with the image Prada Group cultivates.
“I think that the effort ought to be applauded, as they are one of the first Italian companies to go out there, talk about what they are doing and attempt to engage with the consumers,” said Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder of Positive Luxury, London. “I personally think that this is a journey and every journey starts with one step - well done to Prada for taking that step.”
Ms. Verde Nieto is not affiliated with Prada Group, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Prada Group was unable to comment directly before press deadline.
For the people
On the Web site, consumers can see a message from the group’s chairman about CSR, view infographics about its impact on the environment, look at graphs of where Prada’s employees are located and read various statements on these and other issues.
A video is also included on the site that takes consumers through each of the site’s various sections. The section of the video on “Know-how” includes stills and moving images of the making by hand of various products, including shoes and handbags.
[video width="420" height="236" mp4="https://www.luxurydaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Prada-CSR.mp4"][/video]
Prada Group CSR video
“Places” includes images of various landscapes as well as the architecture of various Prada buildings. “Culture” shows workers taking on “new challenges” and includes images of Italian churches, statues and other exhibitions.
Rather than focusing on products, the video aims to highlight Prada’s role in culture, job creation and in preserving the environment, thus urging consumers to see Prada Group not as a high-end apparel and accessories conglomerate but also a benevolent social force.
Many of the pages on the site are detailed examples of Prada’s causes.
For example, one page details Prada’s aim to re-launch production at a French tannery that was suspended in 2013 due to financial problems. Another, which includes a video, shows the restoration of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which Prada played a role in.
[video width="420" height="236" mp4="https://www.luxurydaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Prada-CSR-Galleria-Vittorio-Emanuele-Li.mp4"][/video]
Vittorio Emanuele II video
The site also includes the Prada Group Wall, which aggregates tweets from Prada Group, the brands it owns and others that are tagged with #PradaGroupResponsibility to help raise awareness.
“The Prada wall is a brilliant initiative,” Ms. Verde Nieto said. “A large part of being a responsible brand is be open and allow a two way conversation with the consumer.”
Although commendable values and transparency are important to consumers, it is crucial to be genuine when displaying values. If a CSR campaign or charitable endeavor looks like it might be purely for publicity or tactical purposes or if generating revenue supersedes the cause, consumers will respond negatively.
Prada emissions infographic
Prada Group’s CSR site does not contain links to and scarcely mentions any of the group’s brands or products in a targeted sense, suggesting that its morals originate from within the brand rather than being absorbed from outside in an attempt to create sales.
The range of businesses emphasizing CSR without relation to sales is growing.
Corporate social responsibility may be about relationship building rather than transactions, but that makes it more important for brands, not less, according to Christie’s executive at Luxury Interactive Europe 2015 Oct. 27.
The speaker offered a number of tips for brands looking to improve or get started on CSR, offering a number of Christie’s stories as support. In addition to quality craftsmanship and great service, being a luxury brand means using a highly visible and admired position to fulfill moral and ethical responsibilities (see story).
Prada Group’s competitors are also broadcasting CSR initiatives in honest and creative ways.
For example, French luxury conglomerate Kering is helping the world visualize its environmental impact with an interactive environmental profit and loss statement.
Kering’s results page on the conglomerate’s Web site contains a grid depicting the various steps in production and environmental categories in which it could make an impact, with each square containing a circle in relation to the impact that has been made. Kering’s transparency shows its dedication and the steps it has taken while also helping other companies to examine where they can make changes one step at a time (see story).
Numerous groups are fighting the same dangers, notably climate change, and doing so is essential to the well being of the companies as well.
“Kering is not alone; LVMH has also been on the same journey,” Ms. Verde Nieto said. “However, I wouldn't say that this is putting business aside for the greater good; on the contrary, sustainability is material for luxury brands.
“Take one very topical example of climate change having the potential to erode the quality of raw materials, and it shows what it’s about: a leadership matter and therefore a supply chain matter,” she said. “[Kering CEO] Pinault and [LVMH CEO] Arnault have also both made this part of the vision for their groups and are putting the mechanisms in place to ensure their groups endure for another 100-plus years.”
Forrest Cardamenis, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York