When thinking of digitization in different industries, fashion brands rarely comes up at the top of one’s list of digital-savvy companies. Burberry, with the appointment of Angela Ahrendts (now at Apple) as CEO in 2006, transformed the world of luxury fashion and its interaction with the digital world in order to attract millennial customers. Through various methods of digitization and innovation, Burberry has achieved its goal to provide an entry point to the high-end brand which, millennials have in the past, identified as being for “ladies who lunch” . Since the beginning of the brand’s digitization journey in 2006, the company stock price has surged two-folds and has successfully brought its target customers closer to the brand in a way no other luxury brand has done before.
The Trench: Where it all started
In 2006, Angela Ahrendts aimed to become the first company who is fully digital. In order to achieve this vision, she set out to “purify the brand message and how we were going to do that; by focusing on outerwear, by focusing on digital, by targeting a younger consumer” . In 2009, the brand launched its “Art of the Trench Coat” digital campaign, which allowed fans to take pictures with the iconic trench coat and share on the Burberry microsite for other visitors to comment or “like”. By addressing the inner needs of many young luxury shoppers to exhibit their style, Burberry has not only managed to spread awareness for the brand, but maintained its prestige by not introducing a more affordable product line for the mass . In 2011, the British brand launched the “Burberry Bespoke”, allowing visitors to customize its own trench coat from the buttons to the color of the sleeves. Personalization continues to be Burberry’s focus to fulfill Millennials’ desire to differentiate themselves from their friends by having a personal statement.
Social Media is Key
Simultaneous to its Art of Trench campaign, Burberry became one of the first luxury brands to incorporate social media into its marketing strategy. The brand uses Facebook and the likes to share catwalk footage and engage directly with Christopher Bailey. In 2014, Burberry became one of the first luxury brands to sign-up to Twitter’s “buy now” button, allowing users to instantaneously purchase the brand’s products as they view the runway online . Burberry’s Twitter, @BurberryService, handles customer enquires 24 hours a day to ensure client satisfaction and direct connection with the customers. The brand has virtually eliminated the leaky funnel of its customers deciding against a purchase of a product because their questions cannot be answered until the following business day, especially as they target Millennials who are constantly connected to the internet. Of course, not all young customers the brand aims to acquire will be able to afford a two-thousand dollar trench. “Burberry Kisses” was launched in partnership with Google to send a digital copy of the customer’s lip imprint onto a digital postcard, after coloring it using Burberry’s one of five lipstick shades – for free. This is one of the many ways young users fall in love with Burberry as the brand creates an environment that they want to be part of. Burberry’s products are now tiered so younger people with limited financial resources can get in on a ground level and work their way up as they age .
Providing the “Wow” factor
Burberry continues its innovative branding as earlier this year, presented its first “see-now, buy-now” collection. As viewers watch the runway streaming live, the show could be purchased immediately, completely changing the traditional six-months gap between showing a collection and it appearing in the shops . Shoppers can not only buy products online, but while in-store, access a unified shopping cart on mobile and desktop. At the brand’s flagship Regent Street location, when chips attached to clothes approaches one of the many digital screens in the common areas, a video showing how it was worn on the catwalk will appear. Burberry has also partnered with DreamWorks last winter, featuring computer-generated versions of its iconic scarf for fans to personalize and play on the “Curve” screens in London’s Piccadilly Circus .
Burberry has successfully digitized its entire business in order to penetrate a younger audience than that of the traditional luxury brands. By providing seamless and innovative services to the Millennial customer, the brand has successfully created loyal fans who will be with the brand for an extended period of time. As a fan myself, I would like to see the DreamWorks and Google partnerships to expand to the rest of the globe. The entry point marketing, such as Burberry cosmetics and the Burberry Kisses campaign could further be incorporated into the brand’s emerging markets to ensure the rising generation become the brand’s biggest fans.
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 “Burberry’s Blurred Lines: The Integrated Customer Experience”. Forbes. Web. http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottdavis/2014/03/27/burberrys-blurred-lines-the-integrated-customer-experience/#3f789c8a22fc
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 “Trench Coat Warfare”. Britton Blog. Web. http://www.brittonmdg.com/the-britton-blog/trench-coat-warfare/
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 “Burberry Partners with DreamWorks Animation and NOVA”. Burberry Press Release. Web. http://www.burberryplc.com/media_centre/press_releases/2015/burberry_partners_with_dreamworks_animation_and_nova