Burberry rethinks how it markets product launches

Burberry says the marketing around the launch of its DK88 bag marks a “real shift” in how it thinks about and invests behind product.

burberry

Burberry is planning to put more marketing power behind product launches as it looks to increase investment around specific categories and attract more local customers to the brand.

Speaking on a call this morning to mark its full-year results, Burberry’s CEO and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey used the example of its signature DK88 bag. Its launch was accompanied by a standalone marketing campaign and dedicated store windows, the first time it has done that for a new bag, and that the company has been “delighted” with the early results.

“This launch marks a real shift in how we think about and invest behind a category. It is early days but we are delighted with the very strong results,” he explained.

“We will do more marketing and storytelling around each product.”

However, that does not mean Burberry will focus its marketing simply on product. Bailey said storytelling and communicating the balance between the brand’s rich heritage and focus on innovation will remain key.

That was most clear last year in Burberry’s Christmas ad, a trailer for a film that was never made that told the story of Burberry’s founder, Thomas Burberry. That ad, claims Burberry, was viewed more than 42 million times online.

“That story of the 160 years of Burberry is what we will always build on,” he added. “That is in our product, service, how we communicate to customers, our training and culture.”

Being a first mover in digital is also important as Burberry looks to communicate innovation through marketing, not just products. For example, Burberry is testing out mobile commerce with WeChat in China and has made early moves onto social platforms including Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

Improving the customer experience

Marketing is not the only area undergoing a big shift at Burberry. Bailey said conversion both online and in stores has increased “across all markets” after it introduced two new services to improve the customer experience.

The first is a new service model ‘client’ that ensures all its staff are working to the same luxury service standards and building ongoing relationships with customers. The second is a new customer feedback form based on net promoter scores (NPS) that Bailey claimed is allowing Burberry to be “much more responsive” to customer needs. He also said its NPS scores are consistently equally the best of its luxury peers, without giving any details.

We will do more marketing and storytelling around each product.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry

Online, Burberry is also working to make it easier for customers to buy by adding more lines and fulfilling online orders from stores. Digital, he said, now “influences” 70% of Burberry’s sales, while mobile sales are up 50% although no total figure was given.

While digital outperformed the rest of the business last year, Bailey said he wants to sharpen the brand’s focus on converting digital awareness into ecommerce sales. To do that, Burberry is relaunching its mobile app to offer a richer experience and improve functionality, while at the same time boosting relationships with retailers such as Harrods and Barneys in the US.

Burberry’s results have struggled a little in recent quarters and total revenue was down 2% for the full year to £2.8bn while adjusted profit before tax was down 21%. Burberry is also embarking on a cost-cutting programme that will see it improve efficiency by £100m in full-year 2019, up from £20m last year.

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