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"Strategic communication is the axis of our transformation", says Director General of Adolfo Dominguez, at ESADE

At Adolfo Dominguez, sales have risen by 9.5% over the past three quarters and the company’s share value increased by 62% in 2017

“Adolfo Dominguez is currently undergoing a transformation, which is focused not so much on changing our products but, rather, on branding and the strategic communication, both internal and external, of this renewal,” declared Adriana Dominguez, Director General of Adolfo Dominguez, during the most recent session of the 11th ESADE-Deloitte Lecture Series “Family Businesses of the 21st Century”, held today on the ESADE Madrid campus. As an auteur design firm, Adolfo Dominguez is a worldwide icon of Spanish fashion. Nevertheless, the company has experienced difficulties in recent years. Since August 2016, the firm has managed to reverse the negative trend: its share value increased by 62% in 2017 and store sales have risen by 9.5% over the past three quarters.

“Getting vertigo facing a critical situation is no reason not to take a step forward,” commented Ms. Dominguez. “What our company needs now is audacity. It is time for action. We have a vision about how to get out of this situation, and it has to do with how we reconnect with our clients.”

Building an imaginary

“What made us famous – what made us connect with an entire generation – was our ability to be disruptive, to be totally different,” said Ms. Dominguez. “We must therefore change and innovate in order to remain true to our essence.” She added: “At a time of ephemeral trends that will not stand the test of time, companies in our sector must face the challenge of how to remain in fashion over a larger period of time.” At present, she explained, the firm is focused on “communicating and renewing the way in which our brand’s values ​​are expressed”. By way of example, she noted that Adolfo Dominguez intends to incorporate humour – “a timeless, simple, soulful sense of humour” – into its approach.

“Today’s fashion world is different and much more complex than the old-fashioned world where the creative director was a designer, back when garments and runway shows were the origin of everything,” she added. “Today, the creative director is a brand director – someone who has a vision about how to connect with their customers, who hires designers and communication directors to promote this vision. It’s also someone who collaborates with other brands and celebrities, who takes into account the dynamics of social media, among other brand-building activities.”

New team and internationalisation

“We’re forming a management team with creative young people who have different ideas,” commented Ms. Dominguez. She noted, however, that because the fashion world always works on collections for the following year, “this change won’t be perceived clearly until September 2018”. She added: “Our new management team is focused on improving logistics, distribution and the purchasing and supply plan. We’re also prioritising the optimisation of our store network and the development of a new store concept. In the coming years, we’ll be focusing more on accessories.”

In recent years, Ms. Dominguez explained, “Adolfo Dominguez has worked to increase the size of its international business.” In 2016, 31% of the company’s sales came from outside of Spain. Between 2016 and 2017, cumulative sales rose by 15.2% in Mexico, by 10% in Europe and by 1% in Japan.

The session also featured the participation of Pedro Navarro, Executive Vice President of the ESADE Foundation Board of Trustees; Fernando Ruiz, Chairman of Deloitte; and María José Parada, Lecturer in the Department of Strategy and General Management at ESADE.