Published: 23. 1. 2014 in Blog by Juliana Rocha

Burberry takes over social media

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Following the success of The Art of Trench, brand partners with Google for its new campaign. First, Burberry asked customers to post pictures of themselves wearing its coats. Now, to share a digital kiss.

Digital takes 60% of Burberry's marketing budget

Burberry is a pioneer in digital and social media marketing. The company started investing in digital and social initiatives as early as 2009, when none of its luxury competitors paid attention to the online buzz. The effort to keep up with the wave of change brought about by digital technologies was guided from the top-down thanks to CEO Angela Ahrendts and creative director Christopher Bailey.

Ahrendts and Bailey devised The Art of Trench, a social platform highlighting the ways in which customers wear the iconic Burberry coats. To quick-start the photo sharing website and assure quality content, the brand partned with the photographer and street-style blogger Scott Schuman, from The Sartorialist. Schuman spent a few months traveling the world and shooting wearers of Burberry trenchcoats. As his pictures hit the web, word-of-mouth spread the news about the campaign and The Art of Trench opened for user collaboration.

On its first year, The Art of Trench had 7.5 million views from 150 countries and helped to increase Burberry's fanbase on Facebook to over 1 million users. Conversion rates from the platform to the Burberry online shop were significantly higher than those from other sources, driving the brand's online sales 50% up by the end of 2010.

Sales up 50% after social media campaign 

The success came on a crucial period for the British luxury fashion house: Burberry was suffering on a slow market and had seen its profit margin plump from 15% to 9.8% between 2007 and 2009. Ahrendts and Bailey's choice to focus on digital marketing helped to put the company back on track, doubling sales and promoting a stock growth of nearly 300%.

"To be effective on Facebook, marketers must come up with campaigns that enhance the social experience of the Facebook user. For example, using your Facebook account to sign into the Amazon website so that it notifies you on friends' birthdays and suggests gifts based on their activity. The Burberry campaign was very good at leveraging the social aspect of the new media.", explained Nirmalya Kumar, Professor of Marketing and Director of the Aditya Birla India Centre at London Business School in an interview to Business Today.

Digital kisses is Burberry's new online buzz

The Art of Trench was only the first of the missing links Burberry found on its business. Even if the worst of the 2000s economic downturn is now past, companies need to continually innovate to remain viable. That's why Burberry recently partned with Google and released yet another social media campaign.

Google's technology allows Burberry customers to seal a digital letter with a kiss. How? By transforming the lip print left on their phone screen into a digital kiss signature. The sealed digital letters can then be sent via e-mail, Google+, Facebook and Twitter to loved ones.

Differently from The Art of Trench initiative, Burberry kisses seems loosely — if even — connected to the goods offered by the fashion, fragrances and cosmetics brand. But Bailey, who will assume the CEO position in mid-2014 as Ahrendts moves along to Apple, defends the initiative by saying it is all part of the overall feel. And that's true. It is Burberry as much as The New Frontier Group understanding that every customer interaction is crucial to market share and strengths the relationship between brand and consumers.

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