Burberry, the famous British rain coats, you must have all seen them or heard about them. Nowadays they are one of the most trended fashion brands, though, not long ago they were an aging British icon that seemed to be going nowhere.
In the past decade they took an U turn in their business and established 3 times growth in revenue between 2006 and 2012.
In 2006 is when the Burberry renaissance began. Then a new CEO was appointed, that person was Angela Ahrendts. Until then no one had imagined that an American from the mid-western states would be the person to save the brand. She took over a decentralized organization that was struggling to find it’s focus and stand up by it’s heritage. Back then they were selling everything from dog sweaters to polo shirts, unfortunately they had lost their focus from the main product, the trench coat. Only about 20 % of their revenue was coming from coats and the other was being generated from different stores around the world, stores that were offering different products and were not branded under the same umbrella, which was of no aid to the organization.
When Mrs. Ahrendts took over her first decision was to centralize the brands business, branding and communications. A great brand has to offer the same service and point of purchase setting no matter if you are in Amsterdam or in Sidney. She wanted the brand to be recognized for what they are, a British fashion heritage that has been supplying the royal family for decades, a brand that has clothed the soldiers of the first and second world wars, a brand that has been used by cinema stars, explorers and many others. Angela wanted the focus back on the trench coat, the iconic coat that embodies UK’s fashion and style.
A year later all the shops were branded the same way, all the hectic regional production was closed and there was a new designer appointed, whose task was to look after the brand centralization. As in many cases they had to stick to what made them, the trench coat. Everything in the Burberry business had to be branded with their checkered mark and everything had to be associated with the coat.
Mrs. Ahrend decided to stick to the old maxim “If something works well, then do not change it.”, and she was so right about it. Why would you change your focus from your main product, the one that got you where you are. This is the same as with human traits, if someone is funny and people love him for that, why become bitter and rigid? When you have an established position you should keep it and build over it, not throw it away.
In the following weeks I am going to get into more depth about the Burberry re-branding, the problems of their past and the achievements and innovations of their contemporary business.