Our endless search for the greatest social media platforms has landed us in high fashion. While many luxury fashion brands have serious growing pains in the face of the onslaught of social media, one brand has encompassed them all. Burberry, established in 1856, is now a leader not only in outerwear and high luxury fashion but a lion in the social media arena.

What does it take to make a brand an online giant? Former CEO Angela Ahrendts, would say, “They speak social.” Across the brand, across the world, Burberry takes a bite out of every social media with iconic branding and memorable quotes. “We are challenging ourselves constantly to stay ahead of the curve. Be it mobile, be it social, be it physical, they’re all one. Life is forever blurred.” Ahrendts said in interview with Salesforce.

Ahrendts built Burberry from a flailing fashion hodgepodge to the giant it has become today She attributes social media and internal social communication sources as the primary ways Burberry has succeeded in the new fashion media and advertising landscape.

Listen to Ahrendts own words – what mattered in the brand movement for Burberry to succeed in the digital landscape. This change made the retail stores across the world and the brand what it is today.

Burberry’s History

In 2006 when she took the position of CEO, the brand’s classic offering was drowned in a melee of disorganized licensing and lost in the midst of ineffective branding. Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy also known as LVMH had 12 times Burberry’s revenue while Pinault-Printemps-Redoute touted 16. Where were the trench coats? Where was the brand that began it all?

Ahrendts herself likened Burberry’s task to David versus Goliath. Ahrendts took 8 years to revitalize the brand. She unified its focus by bringing it back to the historical and iconic quality of outerwear and high fashion accessories. She closed stores, shook up management, and changed focus from random store offerings to a single brand offering worldwide.

The New Burberry Brand Focus

Her focus, however, was on the social. That meant connection of the retail stores to the intangible and fairly untapped world of social media. “The next generation is growing up in a digital world and they speak “social.” You have to do it on a social platform because that’s the way they speak.” she said.

The physical brand wasn’t enough. Retail stores at every street corner wasn’t enough. The tangible experience, Ahrendts claimed, was in the social media connection. Burberry became the first high-end fashion brand to integrate a chat platform. The results? Ahrendts claimed the chat platform was a greater culturally unifying force than any other platform they had implemented. They created branding throughout Facebook, Twitter, and later Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.
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How Burberry Uses Social Media

This is where social media sits now. Burberry doesn’t see social media as a chore. They see it as an opportunity to create more of a platform for their brand and for their customer’s voices. Ahrendts said,  “Wherever the customer is, as soon as they say something about the Burberry brand, we should hear it.” The good tweets, the Yelp complaints, the Facebook check-ins, everything across the web should be heard by the company. Ahrendts claims this is the ultimate customer service and experience.

Real time is not real life anymore. Real time is live-action photo shoots. Burberry has mobile-first platforms for many of their runway shows. “Anyone in the world could feel as if they had a front row seat.” This is why we work on social media. This is what we’re creating.

How Burberry Merges the Online Experience with the In-Store Experience

Entering Burberry should be synonymous with signing up online. Ahrendts said, “When they walk into the store and they ‘opt in,’ the fun really begins.” Burberry wants their customers to feel the same way about the website as they do the store. This is true brand unification. “We’ll know what’s in their basket online that they saved, that they loved, that they’ve shared with their Facebook fans.”

Burberry has implemented mobile marketing with a vengeance. Ahrendts said, “I think what fascinates me as I travel around the world is that all the high growth markets around the world are already mobile-first. This enables everyone to be so much smarter about everything.”

We’ll never recreate the market. It will never return to its singularly physical and tangible source. It is now broad, open, and waiting for brands to pluck it. Burberry, in Ahrendts’ words, is “blurring the lines between physical and digital” in ways that the market has never seen.

Ahrendts now? She’s the Senior Vice President of Apple. She must have truly believed in the mobile movement – the future of the social market, and its promise for brand platform.

Angela Ahrendts is an iconic figure that I’m watching as a CEO. I believe in what she’s doing and know she will succeed. Why? Because she knows social media is the future landscape of advertising. Everyone is there! Maybe on a different channel, but everyone is there somewhere. Is your company where your customers are? Watch this video to learn why social media will win the social race.

How will we take the same implementation into our own platforms? The future, as they say, is now!!! The future is digitally social. Need help transforming your business? We can help! That’s what we do best!!! Read our case studies to learn how we help other companies go digital.

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