Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Back To Burberry: A Careful, Concentrated Brand

I've said before that Burberry is one of the great examples of brand building in the past ten years. And luckily for me, this assertion happens to be backed up by facts. As of just the other day, Burberry is the most valuable British brand in the world – and well within the overall world top 100, at 73.

With credit to the Scotsman. We Scots can always be trusted to follow fashion brand news.
They’ve fought their way back up. Not by thoughtless expansionism. Not by forcing their presence upon everyone in media blitzes. But by being single-minded in the pursuit of one trait. 


It’s that relentless focus on remaining premium, on establishing a premium quality in everything that they do, which builds and maintains their position. They adapt with the times to be sure. But they never lose sight of the core brand. And they don’t let themselves be lost in a plethora of new lines and new products as they did in the 1990s.

When they do add new products or expand on old ones, it’s carefully planned. The brand comes first, before words like “market diversification” or “upscaling”.

A great recent example of this was seen in the launch of the new personalisation service for their famous scarves.

Watch here.

As AdFreak noted, personalisation can have a certain way of undermining the premium value of a product. After all, if anyone can have it personalised, what makes it special and valuable?

(Even spam emails seem to manage it these days. No I don’t want to email you my account details Halifox. Nor you, Clivesdale Bank.)

How do you combat that cheap perception? By highlighting the work that goes into the product. By showing exactly why it commands a high price tag. And most of all, by demonstrating that the personalisation isn’t a cheap tag-on – it’s a part of the construction of the product, an intrinsic step to its creation.

So in their launch, personalisation plays an important role – but only as part of the Burberry brand equity of quality and character. It’s treated less as a new feature so much as a deepening of the existing brand value. And it’s one of many qualities highlighted in the launch film.

(Including, apparently, teasels. Which I like to imagine are just weasels who make mean jokes.)

This is an actual teasel. Disappointing.
And thanks to the brand mentality and focus I spoke about earlier, the film isn’t just on-message about this new offering. It’s also a beautiful, watchable, absorbing wee film. The new product isn’t what resonates. It’s the brand value that informs the product and the film that is what is so engaging.

For Burberry that means premium quality in everything they create, care and attention, their definition of English style and English values. When Burberry sells, it never just sells the product. It sells the Burberry brand, and just as importantly, the Burberry values.

And in showing the careful, caring process of creating a personalised Burberry scarf, Burberry implicitly gives a reason to buy into them – because Burberry stands for careful, caring, focused fashion. 

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Burberry shows that "why" in everything that they do.

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