Burberry is Sophisticated and Now, Seamlessly Social

I’ve been reading case studies on enterprises that have transformed the way they do business socially. Termed “social business” or “connected enterprise” the concept of social business is really one unified ecosystem between the workers (internal), the partners and the customers (external). Dachis Group is really the thought leader behind the art and science of how companies have proved success in this area today. Read their article on The Future of Social Business.

When I was at Dreamforce this past September, I was impressed by the vision and the innovation trailblazed by the 156-year old luxury fashion company. Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is creating the ultimate Social Enterprise using salesforce.com, incorporating social and mobile elements across the entire organization, and connecting with their employees and customers in a whole new way.

They have these micro-chips embedded in the clothes at their ‘Store of the Future’. Ahrendts shared, “…when they walk into the store, the fun really begins. You’ll actually feel like you’re walking into the website. They’ll know what is in their basket online – what they see, what they saved, what they shared on Facebook with their friends….they put on a trench coat, they stand in front of a mirror and they’ll be able to see where the coat was made and the craftsmanship….and we have these magical trays and they take this iconic handbag and video content comes to life showing them how that handbag was made….”

For all her enthusiasm for digital, it seems that Ahrendts never loses sight of the very “analog” products that make Burberry what it is: clothing and accessories. Yet she knows that consumers will visit Burberry.com several times a week – a lot more than walking into one of the stores. She tells her investors this is the “million-square feet store”.

A study from the Altimeter Group reported that on average, enterprises (>1,000 employees) have 178 corporate-owned social media accounts! I’m not sure how many Burberry has but they surely need technology to manage at such global scale. Their partnership with Salesforce.com was key as they leveraged Salesforce’s CRM capabilities to its increasingly sophisticated Chatter social networking services. In addition, Salesforce just launched the Marketing Cloud that features robust social listening and analytics from recently acquired Radian6 and Buddy Media.

A few other key ingredients:

  • over 70% of Burberry’s workers are under 30, making the fast rapid embrace of social media, internally and externally, potentially much easier.
  • Instead of just Enterprise 2.0, Burberry wanted everything social in the company to be connected together seamlessly from a business and technology perspective. No isolated workforce collaboration, a separate Social CRM effort, or standalone social branding, marketing, and online experience. The vision was to connect back-end to front-end, to workers, to customer experience.

“…for the first time a company is blurring the lines between physical and digital….society is moving so fast. This is how customers live. (waving mobile in her hand) They wake up with the device in their hands. And life begins. And the onus is on us to change everything we do to keep pace with as fast as society is moving.” ~Ahrendts

Today, Burberry has more Facebook and Twitter followers than any other luxury brand of those tracked by consultancy Stylophane.

Twitter: 1.3M+ followers
Facebook: 14M+ Fans
Workers: 6,600+
Partners: 15,000+

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