Ode to Burberry

Ever since 2009, Burberry has always been a true pioneer and inspiration for digital marketing. It’s one of the few companies that fully immerses and embraces the digital world.

‘[Digital] is something that should never be an afterthought – it should never be a checklist that is something to do. Digital for me is not a project; digital is a way that we live. If you deal with it as a project, it will always be superficial.

-Christopher Bailey, CEO of Burberry’

It’s hard to imagine that this digital marketing genius is not from a marketing background at all. He was from creative background. He always openly admits that Burberry as being “as much a media-content company as a design company.”

Avant Garde Web site Design


– Easy navigation

– Big visual to tell the story

That’s just the surface.

1. Media Content Power House

Art of Trench

Launched in 2009, it was Burberry’s first big scale digital move – one of a kind style sharing platform.  The beauty of it:

– Invites Burberry’s loyal following of trench coat to post their selfies to the Art of Trench site to share their taste

– Link the user generated content to its ecommerce site to allow direct transaction

– Relied largely on public relations and word of month and user submission for the campaign exposure

– Facebook fansbase grew to over 1 million at the same year of launch

– Ecommerce sales grew by 50% year of year

– Apart from online buzz, they also held various event around the globe to promote Art of Trench. One of the notable events recent was the Art of Trench Exhibition in Shanghai.

After that, there are a lot of follow-suits, #WonderFurla and the more recent #MyCalvins

2. Strategic Collaboration

Partnering with the right parties is like being with the cool gangs in High school. If all the cool kids carries an iPhone, iPhone is the cool must-have. (Ok, reality check, there was no iPhone when I was in high school. I grew up in an high school full with humble bookwarms. Good grades were cool and we wrote poems and essay for pastime. That explained my poor sense of style or complete lack of it when I was young)

Burberry makes their media content one step further by collaborating with right influensers.

The Sartorialist 

By collaborating with the God Father of Street Style Snap – Scott Schuman, aka the Sartorialist, Art of Trench mini site was filled with artfully crafted fashion images. By leveraging on then already-famous, the Sartorialist, Art of trench created an exclusive “in-the-know’ feel that appealed to the luxury consumers



(Screen cap from thesartorialist.com)



One of the finest example of Burberry’s strategic collaboration. By working with some of Britain’s finest musicians, fans can enjoy rare live acoustic performance directly from Burberry’s social platform.

The platform featured a series of short films of up and coming British musicians who have been hand-picked by Mr. Bailey, shot in scenic locations with the artists wearing Burberry clothing. The films bring a hip edge to the brand’s image. The project can attract a wider audience that enjoys other aspects of British pop culture. Don’t forget, these films are highly shareable content for social media.

Acoustic is on Facebook and on Chinese Douban.

Fashion Show Live Cast with Apple

Fashion shows used to be exclusvie and somewhat private for the “in-the-know’, Burberry invited fans to watch the show all together with social media. In 2013, they took one step further, by partnering with Apple’s then newly launched iPhone5S, with an enhanced filming function, to document every step of the way to the spring/summer 2014 fashion show.


Of course, the benefits were mutual. Both brands gained the buzz and praise they deserved by being innovative and visionary. No wonder Angela Ahrendtz gained the attention of Apple’s HR too.

Kisses with Google

Burberry Kisses lets Google Chrome and mobile users share “kisses” via a desktop camera or touchscreen devices. The kisses can then personalise, by adding a Burberry Beauty lip colour’, before sending it on. The “journey’ of each kiss is then ‘brought to life’ via a 3D animation using Google Earth and Streetview. The kiss actually travels. Not as impactful as Art of Trench or Acoustic, Kisses does give technology ‘a bit of heart and soul’, according to Mr. Bailey. It’s indeed a very cute idea.

3. Digitalized the in-store experience


No one can beat the London flagship store which was designed as a physical manifestation of the Burberry Website.

Burberry World Live

Real-life Bespoke – customers can engage with the products both online and in-person, customize their apparel and try on RFID-tagged items in front of a mirror that projects them onto videos

iPads – with complimentary iPads in hand, customers can relax on the couches as they browse through the products, view videos of clothing being worn by models, video videos and read social reviews. Customers can even pay through the iPad thought waiting in line at the check-out counter.

Burberry World Live also give customers the chances to attend events including gigs by the Acoustic artists, which are streamed online.

I’m sure Christopher Bailey would speak better himself.

4. Complementing social platform contents

Facebook – the Official Voice

•Facebook timeline is home to a plethora of pictures documenting Burberry fashion shoots and advertising its products
•New content published daily with prepared marketing message.
•App for Acoustic

Twitter – Product focus

•Every single tweet includes either a video or an image, often of celebrities wearing Burberry clothes at social events.
•Very few links back to Burberry’s ecommerce site.
•Uses Twitter to promote and build its brand image, leaving it up to users to find their way to the online store.
•All the tweets are pre-planned marketing messages
•A separate feed for customer service – marketing messages and customer queries don’t get mixed up with one another.
•Burberry live tweeted its runway show, providing Burberry Twitter fans with behind the scenes photos and rare insights into the fashion world.
•When static photos proved too passé for Burberry, it switched to animated gifs. The gifs brought the movement and life of a fashion show straight to fans, which is great if you ever wanted to see an endless loop of a model twirling in Burberry coat.
Instagram – Friendly Images
•Posts images that could have been taken by anyone with a smartphone, not advertising imageries
•Enlisted top Instagram photographers to generate buzz about the Brit Rhythm fragrance, using the #ThisIsBrit hashtag. People who received samples in the mail posted their special deliveries on Instagram, tagging @Burberry.
•Show London in its full glory with images of the brightly lit flagship store and Big Ben through the London mist.

Pinterest – Imageries Inspirations

  • Various Pin Boards for fashion inspiration
  • London focused Pinterest board pays homage to the city that gave birth to its trench coats with iconic images of the city. Perfect if you’ve ever wondered what London looks like through the Hudson Instagram filter.

They are also on Youtube, Tumblr, Weibo and Douban.

Feel Special Content

Personalised Message

Personalised messages for everyone who shared the image. Acted as a reward for engaging with the content and also helped create a personal attachment with the brand. It’s also likely that the recipients shared the new Images with their own social circles.


Handwritten note from Chris


Asset created for celebrating 10 million Facebook fans




Thematic Integrated Campaigns 

Britain Weather

Everyone knows Brits are obsessed with weather especially when the whole world’s focus was in London during the Olympics. Tapping into this is fashion brand Burberry, which has created a summer ad campaign based on monitoring the vagaries of the British skies in billboards around the world, as well as on the Weather Channel….

The campaign includes digital billboards situated in major cities across the world, including London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong, which are fed live London-based weather content. Screens will be updated with imagery of the city and live temperature checks over the course of the day.

In addition, Burberry has partnered with the Weather Channel during the Olympics, providing all advertising on the Channel’s global iPhone/iPad apps, where it will also show imagery of London weather conditions.




My Ode to Burberry!

[The post hasn’t been properly quoted all the source yet. I’ll add up the reference part within a week).


Flash of idea – social media campaign for sunglasses

#Hope2see hashtag idea

How does it work?

– link it with charity, an obvious choice would be Orbis – helping people to see

– encourage people to upload photos of their idea of beauty and hashtag #Hope2see, the beauty they want all people to see

– a portion of earning of the product will go to the charity that actually help people see beauty in life

The idea is not thought through. Hope someone would take the idea and make it a reality

4Cs for Social Media Strategy

Like a diamond, social media marketing strategy revolves around 4Cs – Care, Content, Campaigns & Collaboration.


1. Care –

Your customer care hotline is simply not enough for the digital age. People turn to social media to seek information or assistant.

The key is to respond properly and timely. First, set up standard of procedure of handling customer enquiry/complaints.  Have you set up within what time customer enquiry needed to be responded to? Do you have a FAQ ready to answer questions? Have you set up a go-to list for questions what you need to seek outside of your department? How do you handle a complaint? What investigation needs to be done before. Of course, everyone knows is that you needs to take the complaint offline. Talk to the customer directly instead of arguing online. And above all, have a crisis plan ready. When do things need to be escalated? Crisis Plan! 

Instead of passively waiting for customers/potential customer to reach out to you, you have to be proactive – look out there. Constant monitoring and an alert system is the key. There are a lot of tools out there to help you monitor trending topics or people talking about your brand, product or services. 

Set up your own sentiment scores. Work with your agency or your PR team. This is essential if you are selling service. You want to know if people like you or not.  Also, when you launch a campaign. Monitor the before and after number of people are talking about you and the sentiment score will also give you some insights on how successful your campaign is.

2. Content –

Cliché – content is king. It’s true though. Managing your brand’s content is not the same as writing your personal journal. Define your own content strategy. What content pillars can

1)   tell your brand story

2)   appeal to your fans and make them want more

Don’t ever post something because you have to. Don’t think as a brand marketers. Think as a fan. What’s this in for me? Will I like this content? Will I share with my friends? Seriously, I don’t really care where you have stores.  

Tell me the right thing at the right time at the right frequency. Don’t know what to do? Test it out. Define when is the best time of the day/week to post, how many times you post and what kinds of content actually gain most traction. Fine tune your strategy as your testing goes.

3. Campaigns

It’s time to amplify your efforts.  Campaigns are here to help you gain more attention than the regular posting.

Remember you have different audience and where you are in terms of social also determines what kind of campaigns you need.

If your community is small, sweepstake might be the way for you the gain the first batch of fans.

Photo contest can be a good way to motivate your fans to connect emotionally with your brand. What’s good about it? You don’t need as much translation work to determine who the winner is.

Design your campaigns based on your brand essence and what group of your fans you are appealing you.  You need different campaigns for the mass, your new fans, your normal fans and your hardcore fans.

4. Collaboration

You can do things on your own but by partnering with the right gangs, you’ll be there faster and more successful.  You want to leverage on other’s influence and strengthen your own branding or appeal to a new group of audience.  Media, bloggers, or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are your friends. What can they do? They tell a better story. Think really good and hard on how you collaborate with them.  Think of a win-win solution. It’s a passé for you to simply pay them to say something you want.  Identify the potential parties you want to partner with and how you can partner with them. 

After all, our focus is the Big C – Community. To build up a healthy community that supports your brand like sport fans is a help you convey your brand message and support you when things get rough. 

Got ideas about social media marketing? Share!