Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Burberry Launches Social Media Site

On Monday, Burberry introduced a social networking site, artofthetrench.com, to encourage people to share their own trench coat stories with an interface that combines the best of Twitter and Facebook -- boasting a fetching array of classy photos by world-famous photographer Scott Schuman ("The Sartorialist") plus a great soundtrack by The Kooks.

It is the latest step by CEO Angela Ahrendts and her creative director, Christopher Bailey, to build on the brand’s British heritage and trademark plaid with a more modern twist, according to The New York Times.

"It’s our differentiator," Ms. Ahrendts said, although she adds, "It’s not so different from what competitors do. Maybe one was born from shoes and another from luggage; we come from a coat. It’s our job to keep that category hot and cool and relevant for all ages."

Luxury goods companies have generally failed to figure out how to sell their wares online. Indeed, many have shunned the Web as a place for bargain hunters to search for knock-offs or counterfeits.

“The biggest thing that keeps me up at night is how can we continue to evolve this organization in order to stay ahead of the curve,” Ms. Ahrendts said during an interview with a NY Times reporter at company's new global HQ in London last month. “My job is to always look two to three years ahead and look round the corner and see what’s coming.”

With this new "social media" site, she is doing just that!

After a roughly 8 percent decline this year, the $226 billion global market for luxury goods is expected to grow again next year as younger consumers and working women replace retiring baby boomers as the dominant consumer group, according to consulting firm Bain & Company. That’s one of the main reasons Burberry is now focusing on the Internet. Ms. Ahrendts said she gets a lot of inspiration from her three children, who spend time surfing the Web and buy most of their clothes online.

Ms. Ahrendts said she is proud that Burberry has more than 699,000 Facebook fans. The company, founded as a maker of outdoor wear in 1856 by the British draper’s apprentice, Thomas Burberry, is also attracting customers via Twitter and Youtube.

According to The New York Times, Ms. Ahrendts recently revived a 108-year old company trademark of an equestrian knight carrying a flag with the words Prorsum — Latin for forward. The image now features prominently in the headquarters’ glass-walled entrance hall.

Forward indeed! The company is reportedly in talks with a licensing partner to add a make-up and beauty range next year, and is planning to offer more men’s accessories, such as bags and scarves.

1 comment:

Ernie Schell said...

Sarah Jo Sautter of the threeminds blog suggests that Burberry's rules for uploading consumer photos are too strict. See here comments at http://ilnk.me/brb

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