British luxury fashion house Burberry, headquartered in London, is renowned for its iconic trench coats, ready-to-wear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses and cosmetics. Its distinctive check pattern is among the most widely copied trademarks in the world, and its signature coats were worn in the trenches during the First World War by British soldiers.
Today, Burberry has more than 500 stores in over 50 countries and revenue of £2,514.7 million last year. The brand has made some bold moves for a venerable British brand. It was the first to livestream shows and debut right-off-the-runway preordering (2009); first global luxury brand to feature “in-tweet” purchasing (2014); the first to combine its women’s and menswear collections in a single show (2016); mobile marketing via WeChat and Line; and on September 16, it will become the first luxury brand to embrace the new see-now, buy-now show strategy at its London Fashion Week show.
The show will be the first under the brand’s new management structure, which saw Marco Gobbetti arrive from Céline to take the CEO reins from Christopher Bailey, and Bailey resume full creative duties along with the added title of president.
Two days later, the brand, a longtime supporter of music and the arts, will host a photographic exhibition entitled Here We Are, inspired by the creations of Henry Moore. Photographers include Shirley Baker, Ken Russell and Alasdair McLellan.
‘Here We Are’ . Our new exhibition of British photography to celebrate the Burberry September 2017 collection, 18 September – 1 October #HereWeAre . Introduced by Christopher Bailey. Tap to listen . Dafydd Jones, Magdalen Commemoration Ball, Oxford, 1988 © Dafydd Jones (@DafyddJonesPhotographer) . Ken Russell, In Your Dreams, January 1955 © TopFoto / Ken Russell . Martin Parr, O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, Ireland, October 1981 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos / Rocket Gallery . Alasdair McLellan, Belfast, 2005 © Alasdair McLellan
“When we started thinking about curating Here We Are, I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved—one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours,” said Bailey, who introduced the concept on Burberry’s Instagram account.
The brand is hoping to return to the kind of growth it enjoyed under former CEO Angela Ahrendts, it’s betting on its newly-installed CEO and Bailey’s “renewed focus on his design duties to reignite Britain’s biggest luxury fashion house,” as the Business of Fashion puts it.
For more than a century, Burberry trench coats were made only in khaki and black, but in 2015, trench coats for men and women liable in red, white and honey worldwide. “Historically, as a brand, we’ve always been less stuck on a specific gender,” said Bailey. “Take the trench coat: completely unisex.”
As for Burberry’s new see-now, buy-now strategy, “I’ve yet to meet somebody who tells me, “I wouldn’t want it now; I want to wait. It’s much more intriguing.”‘
Burberry’s challenge, like so many retailers, is attracting millennial customers. The Business of Fashion notes: “While Burberry reported it generated cash of $897.6 million for the year ended March 31, there is little to console investors elsewhere in the business as it still has a mountain to climb to make itself a millennial must-have.”
One way it’s doing that is through savvier digital marketing of lower-priced items from its Burberry Beauty line. According to Adweek, it’s “delving into AI search, recently gaining major traction for its Cat Lashes mascara on Pinterest, where users received a custom board after answering a survey. More than 30,000 new boards and one million pins were created for Cat Lashes.”
As Burberry expands from a digital presence online to a robust e-commerce destination, CFO Julie Brown said, “Our core technology platforms are between 5 and 15 years old,” on Burberry’s May 18th earnings call with analysts. “Over the next two years, we’ll move to a single set platform with a combined solution for both retail and wholesale, taking full advantage of operating in the [SAP] HANA Enterprise Cloud, supporting enhanced and more responsive decision making throughout the business.”