How Burberry's digital strategy is boosting brand value through the interactive campaign, Burberry Kisses, the luxury brand is delivering another unique consumer experience.
Burberry has introduced yet another digital innovation. They have partnered with Google to deliver the interactive campaign Burberry Kisses – a visually immersive and interactive experience that allows users to send letters sealed with a virtual kiss to friends and loved ones across the globe. Some have dubbed it as the latest digital gimmick with little use or relevance to the brand. I prefer to see it as a clever and charming example of humanising technology in order to interact with the consumer in a more personal way.
The British fashion house has been working hard over the past decade to bring its brand down from the dusty attic and back into the hearts of the young and successful. Its digital strategy has been fundamental to its newfound relevance. Burberry Acoustic, Art of the Trench and Bespoke were not designed to make money, rather they were created to engage the consumer and spread awareness.
The brand openly admits that it has become as much a media content company as a design company, because in the words of Christopher Bailey "it's part of the overall experience". While the content they are producing is undoubtedly engaging, some critics are asking how it all connects to the real value chain of the brand; how does it convert into sales? Angela Ahrendts calls it "the million square foot store", suggesting that every interaction is as crucial as the next, no matter what channel customers opt to engage with the brand through. An example of the classic mind share equals market share model – a well-known concept in marketing circles but one which is perhaps not traditionally practiced in the world of high fashion.
Many have been wary about the integration of digital into the luxury goods sector, fearing that e-commerce might diminish brand integrity or that customers would be unlikely to buy expensive items online without seeing them first. After all, the in-store sales ceremony is an intrinsic part of the value proposition. It would appear however, that customers are comfortable buying all manner of items online and a relevant and dynamic digital strategy has boosted sentiment relating to brands by more than 7%.
There is no doubt that Burberry is one of the most successful examples of a luxury brand that has harnessed digital channels as a way of delivering unique experiences. Live-streamed catwalk shows, viral social media campaigns and online communities have all been instrumental in the 'lifting of the veil' on one of the most exclusive cultural industries. But the brand has not only become visible to the masses; it has achieved market dominance in the face of the recessionary climate (£2bn revenue in 2012). Symbolic of all things British - elegance, innovation and creative talent, Burberry has cultivated cultural capital and generated economic success, boosting overall brand value.
In our postmodern society, where access to goods and services is often only a click of the mouse away from most, luxury brands are no longer defined simply by rarity and price, reserved for the pleasures of the elite classes. Time has become the real luxury, with customers deriving pleasure and satisfaction from the moments of interaction with brand worlds, not just the products themselves. For brands this means delivering relevant experiences, seamlessly at every point in the customer journey.
Now ubiquitous across markets and with the digital world evolving at pace, Burberry will need to work hard to capture customers' attention and at the same time protect the brand by ensuring the experience is always appropriate and on-message. While many of us are still waiting for the day we can afford a Burberry trench, campaigns like Burberry Kisses are keeping the brand top of mind and close to our hearts.
Jessica Swinton, consultant at Brand Union