Angela Ahrendts: From Burberry to Apple

Many people have heard about the Burberry case study and much of this success can be attributed to Burberry’s former CEO, Angela Ahrendts. In this video, Angela describes how great brands and businesses have to be story tellers and that they should tell authentic, compelling stories. “We are building a life-long relationship with people, and a great relationship has to be built on trust,” she says.

So how did Burberry engage with customers? In 2009, the 153-year old luxury fashion house was witnessing only a 7% retail growth and an operating profit margin of 9% (as opposed to the previous year’s 15%.) Burberry wanted to appeal to a younger, millennial market without diminishing the classic appeal of Burberry’s time-tested fashion sensibilities.

BurberryWith the leadership of Angela Ahrendts, Burberry launched The Art of the Trench Facebook campaign that was designed to showcase the average Burberry customer (regular people and no mainstream models) wearing Burberry clothing in various states of candid poses. It was a bold campaign move, appealing as much to the accessibility of social media as it did to their increasingly cost-conscious and egalitarian market segment. It was a forward thinking campaign move. And in the long run, it was a campaign move that ultimately paid off.

By 2010, Burberry’s Facebook fan base alone amounted to more than one million; the largest count in the luxury apparel segment at the time. Over the next two years, e-commerce sales gradually increased by 50% and it helped cement Burberry’s role as one of the foremost luxury brands trending the way for new innovations in digital marketing.

By 2012, Burberry had shifted over 60% of its marketing budget from traditional outlets to digital – a move that prompted CCO Christopher Bailey to remark that the stately brand was “as much a media content company as it was a design company.” This sense of digital strategization has helped drive Burberry’s name from being considered more than a stalwart manufacturer of luxury apparel to what Vogue magazine has described as being the “industry leader when it comes to technological awareness.” To date, the label has consistently pioneered shrewd e-commerce tactics, together with a smart and innovative presence on mobile and social media; especially during a time in which traditional retailers were still reviewing digital optimization as an uncertain and potentially perilous option.

Since the launch of the initial Art of the Trench campaign, Burberry’s sales have more than doubled, while stock growth has been reported at an increase of more than 300%. Source: Intersect Retail Burberry Case Study.

Angela has since left Burberry to head up Apple’s retail group where she is making new waves by integrating Apple’s retail stores with their online stores by digitising the brick-and-mortar stores. This video explains more.


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