Helen Reid. Rebecca Richardson.
This week, with news of the departure of Christopher Bailey from Burberry, Helen looks at his role as brand guardian, while Becca uses the "C" word, giving us the lowdown of five festive campaigns this year.
Christopher Bailey and Burberry: the importance of brand guardians
News broke yesterday that Christopher Bailey, the Chief Creative Officer of Burberry, is leaving the company after 17 years. Looking back at his role with the luxury fashion powerhouse, it’s a powerful example of the strength of a brand and the need for brand guardians who truly understand and represent the brand, and what it stands for.
Under Bailey’s leadership, the brand was brought back from ubiquity to luxury fashion brand. Who remembers the sea of Burberry caps, shirts, scarves - real and fake - that flooded the UK high street of the 90s? (For those of you too young, think Rita Ora’s co-ord from the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards last month) The brand had certainly lost its way and its identity until 2006, when Bailey was promoted to Creative Director. Appointed by New Yorker Rose Marie Bravo, Halifax-born Bailey represented and evolved the brand, and did so with an authenticity that protected and celebrated its brand heritage. He strengthened the brand’s identity once again. He focused on the craftmanship, pursued ground-breaking creative in runway shows, carefully selected collaborations, and adopted a pioneering spirit for all things digital. His commitment and approach mirrored that of Thomas Burberry’s almost 130 years ago. He also wasn’t too dissimilar in terms of background to Burberry himself, which only strengthened his position in the role.
From live streaming London Fashion Week Shows in 3D back in 2010, to interactive billboards on Piccadilly Circus in 2015, and partnering with Apple on its augmented reality app, Bailey recognised very early on the increasingly influential role that digital interactions play in luxury purchase decisions. He embraced the opportunities of digital technologies. But he never lost sight of the brand identity and harnessed innovation to strengthen the brand experience, rather than dilute it. The business of fashion changed, digital technology advanced, and communication behaviour evolved. And yet Bailey has never faltered from a brand perspective. No one can argue that the brand has retained consistency since Bailey took to the helm, while marrying innovation and technology, and always pushing the boundaries.
As Chief Creative Officer, he led the brand to success, from a brand, marketing and commercial point of view. Within 10 years, Bailey-led Burberry was generating £1.5 billion in revenue, a 27% increase over the previous year, with a market cap of £5.8 billion. “That was twice the rate of growth of LVMH’s revenue and market value over the same period,” Business of Fashion reports. I must recognise at this point that his move to straddle CEO and Chief Creative Officer in 2014 was ill-fated to the business, but it cannot detract from his positive influence and leadership of the brand throughout his tenure.
Bailey served as Chief Creative Officer, Brand Guardian and Head of Innovation all rolled into one. The next Chief Creative Officer has huge boots to fill, but if they embody the brand Thomas Burberry founded, its identity, core values, personality and approach, they will continue the journey of this eponymous British brand. A pretty monumental task. But an amazing opportunity for the right person. Most people’s money is on British-born Phoebe Philo by the way. You can read more about the Burberry brand story in Mark Ritson’s column.
Helen Reid, Marketing Manager.
The Marketing Week Christmas blog 2017
It’s here! We’ve got the first Christmas-focused blog of the festive season. The Marketing Week team has very handily popped all of the Christmas campaign news in one little blog for us to pore over. They’ve kicked off with five examples:
First up there is Vodafone’s story of a festive romance starring Martin Freeman. ‘A Christmas Love Story,’ a series of short films will appear across TV, Digital and Social, hoping to capture the essence of modern romance…the need for data.
Next up for discussion is charity Hands On London, and its Christmas campaign to wrap three of London’s iconic statues in red coats. Aiming to raise awareness of its annual coat collection. The charity provides donated coats to those indeed including the homeless elderly and refugees. A lovely example of experiential marketing for a community initiative.
Cineworld hopes to encourage people to give the gift of cinema with its new campaign featuring little Gus. I mean, give us a cute, animated creature with big eyes and cosy fur and we’re sold.
Have you got your new sofa for Christmas yet? You better hurry. And DFS is kindly reminding us by bringing back its much loved the Aardman characters in their festive marketing campaign. Selling the joys and comfort of home, not to mention the discounts and guaranteed Christmas delivery, the heart-warming ad will run across TV, press, digital and social for the next five weeks.
Virgin Atlantic is helping us all get the hell out of here this Christmas. Ok, well maybe not quite like that, but the airline’s Christmas campaign ‘Get where you want this Christmas’ is offering customers the opportunity to crowdfund the cost of a flight from their friends and family, instead of receiving unwanted gifts.
I’ve whizzed through the first five campaigns, but if you’d like to find out more check out Marketing Week’s Christmas blog.
Rebecca Richardson, Social Media and Content Executive