Burberry & The Digitization of Shopper Marketing

Is it possible Bill Lee has it right in his HBR article? Is marketing dead? At least marketing as we have traditionally known it? Well, maybe not dead yet, but it’s certainly being transformed. No more so than at London based Burberry, the luxury goods provider that’s gone from stodgy to spectacular under the leadership of CEO Angela Ahrendts.  Burberry is an example of how a company can redesign its business model and make growth happen again by reaching shoppers on their terms.

Burberry has five core strategies but implicitly woven throughout are three driving principles.

  1. It’s All About the Brand – From the very beginning, Ahrendts and Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey’s first strategy centered on the brand.
  2. Focus on MillennialsBurberry recognizes the highest net worth individuals in emerging markets are 15 years younger than in the developed world.
  3. Connect Digitally – In a few short years, Burberry has become the leader in digital marketing. They have over 13.3 million Facebook fans and more people go online in one week to visit Burberry than the number that walks into all their point of sale/brick and mortar locations in the world combined. In a recession they “focus more on the consumer and connect any way they can using all social media platforms”. Take a look at this totally immersive, 360 media-driven store opening in Taipei.

If someone can take a 150 year old trench coat brand and make it appealing to Millennials around the world (actually, you can now customize your Burberry trench coat, but only online), it’s likely something more can be done with CPG brands looking to grow their business. Time to reinvent your approach to shopper marketing?

(Larry McManis is President & CEO of ThinkWay Strategies, a business design agency that focuses on helping companies reinvent themselves internally to meet the growing challenges they face externally. He frequently writes for other businesses and organizations including the Shopper Insights in Action Conference sponsored by IIR USA.)