In Burberry’s store on London’s Regent Street lies the dichotomy of old and new. The traditional, nostalgic, classic British brand vs. the high-tech, novel, trendy environment. Among the British-made bronzed lanterns, furniture, traditional glass signage, and self-supporting stone staircase, are digitally-enabled galleries, 500 speakers, 100 screens, including the tallest indoor retail screen in the world . Selected apparel and accessories are tagged with RFID, triggering multimedia content of products into iPad apps, which store associates use to access customer purchase history and preference to enable a tailored shopping experience. Traditional mirror instantly transforms into screens with runway footage and exclusive video from the satellite technology that enables live-streaming into the store. 
How do you revamp a 150-year-old luxury brand into the new age?
In 2006, Burberry was significantly underperforming against its peers. While the overall sector was growing at around 12-13% a year, Burberry was growing a mere 1-2% . Burberry has lost much of its luxury brand value. Furthermore, its product offering, pricing and store design were inconsistent and outdated. Angela Ahrendts, who took over as CEO in 2006, dedicated her strategy on harnessing digital technology to re-energize the brand. Her strategy was 3-fold 
- Center around Brand
- Burberry must maintain its brand identity in its core strategy
- Focus on Millennials
- Burberry should cater to its new customer segment, high net worth individuals in emerging markets from Asia, which are 15 younger than in its customers in developed world.
- Connect Digitally
- Connect to consumers through all social media platforms
To execute on the second and third parts of the strategy, Burberry began investing heavily in digitization. Burberry spend more than 60% of its marketing budget on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which is the triple of industry average. As a result, more people go online in one week to visit Burberry than all Burberry’s brick and mortar locations in the world combined . Burberry has also built its largest and most technologically advanced store in the world, which provides an unmatched interactive experience for its customers.
Art of the Trench
The first initiative was the “Art of the Trench,” a microsite with self-posted content of people wearing Burberry’s signature trench coat, as an effort to raise awareness for the brand. In the Summer/Spring show in 2012, Burberry chose to live-stream the event, giving access to public instead of limiting access in the traditionally exclusive runway .
Runway to reality
Burberry premiered its Runway to Reality program at the Burberry Prorsum Fall/Winter 2013-2014 runway show. At the finale of the show, online followers could purchase a selection of coats and bags through Runway Made to Order service on their mobile device, before the pieces become available in Burberry stores. The Run to Reality allows Burberry to connect digitally with its consumers, reaching millennials and increasing access to public. In addition, the Smart Personalization program allows the option of engraving personal names into the metal coat tag or bag plate .
Perhaps one of the more controversial strategies is the Customer 360 program. The goal is to entice customers to allow Burberry to record their buying history, shopping preferences and fashion interests in a digital profile, which can be accessed by sales staff using iPad. For example, an assistant can tell what a customer bought last week, and what they said about Burberry on Twitter . Ideally, it would allow salesperson to provide a much more personal service to customers.
Evaluation of Strategy
While Burberry has expanded its reach to its target new segment of millennials by connecting digitally, there is a key trade-off between brand dilution vs. raising awareness. In the luxury world, digital be perceived as mass market, which can dilute a prestigious brand. For example, having an exclusive waitlist to purchase a Hermès bag allows elite customers to indicate a high level of status that others cannot achieve. With personal customization, social media, and easy access to purchase, Burberry risks lowering its perceived value based on the scarcity principle.
Customer 360 also has certain risks. Buyers value their privacy, especially in social media communications and purchase histories. Customers may not feel comfortable having sales personnel knowing everything they’ve purchased from Burberry in the past or what they’ve Tweeted about the brand. The invasion of privacy may turn away customers to other brands.
In my opinion, there are aspects of Burberry’s strategy that makes sense and others they should stop doing. The high-tech flagship store in London and Runway to Reality raise Burberry’s perceived value due to the innovations adding to the product itself, but Burberry needs to cut down on the social mass marketing to prevent diluting its prestigious brand into a utilitarian good.
Word Count: 796
 “Burberry Regent Street,” Retail-innovation.com, January 1, 2013, http://retail-innovation.com/burberry-regent-street, accessed November 2016.
 “The Digital Advantage: How digital leaders outperform their peers in every industry.” Capgemini Consulting, https://www.capgemini.com/resource-file-access/resource/pdf/The_Digital_Advantage__How_Digital_Leaders_Outperform_their_Peers_in_Every_Industry.pdf, accessed November 2016.
 “Burberry & The Digitization of Shopper Marketing.” Thinkwaystrategies.com, August 22, 2012, http://www.thinkwaystrategies.com/content/burberry-digitization-shopper-marketing, accessed November 2016
 Wade, Michael. “New technologies can lead transformation, but management and culture have to follow,” ConnectedFuturesMag.com, http://www.connectedfuturesmag.com/a/S15A49/a-common-outcome-to-digital-transformation/, accessed November 2016.
 Burberry Company. “Art of the Trench.” https://artofthetrench.burberry.com/, accessed November 2016.
 Barbat, Flavia. “A Digitized Burberry Personalizes Pieces Straight Off the Runway.” Branding Magazine, February 20, 2013, http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2013/02/20/burberry-smart-personalisation/, accessed November 2016.
 “Burberry goes digital,” The Economist, September 22, 2012, http://www.economist.com/node/21563353, accessed November 2016.
Cover image: http://luxurysociety.com/en/articles/how-burberry-does-digital/
Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBnz8NBpEDc
Video 2: https://vimeo.com/79763502