American Marketer


Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren bestow million-dollar donations to Sandy relief efforts

November 14, 2012


U.S. fashion label Michael Kors is donating $1 million to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to aid in Superstorm Sandy cleanup, showing leadership at a time of hardship for many consumers living on the East Coast.

Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and other luxury marketers are announcing their Sandy donations through social media, while encouraging consumers to make contributions to the American Red Cross as well. The Michael Kors announcement on Facebook, for instance, has more than 16,000 “likes.”

“The strategy of this donation displays the sensitive side of Michael Kors and the company’s empathy not only for this unfortunate tragedy, but more importantly for their community of employees, consumers and neighbors,” said Dalia Strum, president of Dalia Inc., New York.

“It reinforces that the brand is not just a business, but is deeply concerned about how this disaster is affecting society,” she said.

“It personalizes the brand by offering its support in recovery efforts.”

Ms. Strum is not affiliated with Michael Kors, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Michael Kors was not available for comment before press deadline.

Born and bred

Michael Kors announced its $1 million donation through social media and email.

Michael Kors Facebook

The label notes in the donation posts that it is a New York-based company.

The donation could have been spurred by Mr. Kors’ connection to New York since the designer is from Long Island, a stretch in New York state that was badly hit by Sandy.

Michael Kors has donated to other charitable organizations both locally and globally in the past, per the brand.

“Kors has been a lifelong New Yorker, originally from Long Island, and therefore feels directly connected to this tragedy,” Ms. Strum said.

Additionally, New York-based Ralph Lauren announced Nov. 5 that it was making a $2 million donation to Sandy relief efforts.

The announcement was posted on Ralph Lauren’s Facebook page.

Ralph Lauren Facebook

The split donation gave $1 million to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, $500,000 to the Robin Hood Relief Fund and $500,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

The brand’s announcement also stated that the company setup an employee matching program with the American Red Cross for up to $1 million and will continue work with local organizations for clothing and other donations.

Giving back
Other luxury retailers and brands have made donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

For example, New York-based department store Bergdorf Goodman announced its donation to the American Red Cross through Facebook.

Bergdorf post

Saks Fifth Avenue also posted on Facebook that it made a donation to the American Red Cross and encouraged others to do so with a link to the organization's Web site.

Saks' Facebook

Automakers Mercedes-Benz USA and Toyota Corp.’s Lexus each promised to donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to aid in Sandy relief efforts (see story).

“It is extremely important for brands to give back and help society get back on their feet, which will help establish stronger consumer loyalty,” Ms. Stum said.

“It is only natural for customers to show appreciation toward a brand that has provided support during times of need," she said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily