Since being founded in 1856, Burberry has become a British virtue and a front runner in the fashion industry worldwide. They have gained recognition as one of the most highly esteemed luxury fashion houses on the market and are best known for their trademark tartan pattern and signature trench coat. The brand has come a long way since Thomas Burberry opened his flagship store in Basingstoke, now having stores all over the world and holding a position in Interbrand’s ‘Best Global Brands’ Report.
The Burberry brand is one that exerts class and elegance, and this is a quality they work hard to maintain on their social media platforms. They have adopted a consistent theme across all of their accounts – from the selected fonts, to a clear content strategy. Burberry is remarkably technology-savvy and digital media is in the forefront of how they connect with their consumers. They have been a pioneer for the incorporation of technology in the fashion industry and led the way in creating a social media experience for fashion fans, introducing live-streaming of shows, social media purchase facilities, allowing customers to order garments straight from the catwalk, and they even have their own social media site, Art of the Trench.
Burberry have fully embraced social media as a means to reach customers and fans, and over 60% of their marketing budget is now going on digital. Having admired their strategy and content from afar, I decided to complete a case study on how they use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote and market the brand.
Burberry have a really strong social strategy and are one of the most digitally innovative brands of its kind. They have built a uniform theme for all of their platforms and although the content is similar across the different sites, they are fairly clued up about what content works best where and really use this to their advantage – for example, using Facebook for live streaming, posting sophisticated visuals on Instagram and encouraging the most user engagement and interaction on Twitter.
Their biggest and most successful digital campaign yet, was ‘Art of the Trench Coat’. First launched in 2009, it attracted the attention of thousands of fans of the brand, who got involved by contributing their own personal photographs of themselves wearing the trademark Burberry trench coat. These were exhibited on the Art of the Trench website.
The campaign was initially designed as a standalone social media platform, instead of being hosted on an existing platform, meaning Burberry had control over the aesthetics of the site rather than being confined to a particular format – however, users could comment on them, ‘like’, and share the photos via Facebook, Twitter and email. In the year following the launch of the campaign, Burberry’s Facebook fan base grew to over a million, which was the largest fan count in the luxury sector at the time.
Five years on, the campaign has been adopted across a number of social media platforms, particularly Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and images can be found under the hashtags #ArtoftheTrench and #AOTT.
Burberry have their highest following on Facebook, with a massive 18 million likes and over 84,000 visits. They generally tend to post about once a day, sharing a combination of videos and photographs of collections, events, etc; usually consisting of a more condensed selection of the Twitter content. A consistent theme for the style of posts has been maintained across all platforms, mirroring elements such as the profile/cover images used for each account and the elegant swirly font used in graphics and videos, in addition to the consistently high quality of their visual content and acoustic backing tracks on their videos. Engagement from fans is at it’s highest on Facebook, with an average post receiving anything between 2,000 to 50,000 likes, though these are purely one way interactions, as there is no evidence of Burberry responding to any of their fans comments and contributions. The campaign photoshoots and images of new collections generally receive the highest response and Burberry’s most successful post over the recent months was their Lunar New Year campaign that featured Romeo Beckham, which received over 100,000 likes and 13,000 shares:
Facebook is a good platform for Burberry to exhibit full galleries of their collections and of catwalk shows, unlike the other platforms that are best for singular images. During London Fashion Week, Burberry also made use of their Facebook page to live stream their catwalk show, which received a great response from fans who were unable to witness it in person. They have done this in previous years on both Twitter and Facebook and opted to offer the service again due to its success.
Facebook fans frequently comment on the Burberry timeline and on content shared, though Burberry are unresponsive and the occasional reply may help to build a relationship amongst their fan base.
Burberry are the most active on Twitter (@Burberry) of all platforms, posting an average of 5 times a day, and have probably made the biggest impact on there with their previous campaigns. Around the time of events such as London Fashion Week, they increase their presence for optimum coverage, and often launch a campaign that is guaranteed to set them out from the crowd on social media.
The brand have worked with Twitter on a number of initiatives in the past, including a live stream of their Spring/Summer show at London Fashion Week in 2012, and in 2014 they sold Burberry products through the ‘Buy Now’ function on Twitter. They have developed quite a following on Twitter, having collated over three and a half million followers in the five years that they have been active on the platform.
Images shared are usually professionally shot to maintain the brand’s sophisticated identity, and they frequently use celebrity endorsement to promote their products and support the credibility of the brand by sharing images of the high profile individuals wearing their products.
The most popular posts are generally photographs of new collections, which receive between 100-200 favourites and 50-100 retweets on average, however posts during London Fashion Week were exceptionally successful, and one particular photograph of CEO Christopher Bailey greeting famous guests Cara Delevingne, Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Sam Smith received a huge 1.3k favourites and over 500 retweets:
— Burberry (@Burberry) February 23, 2015
Burberry really upped their game on Twitter over London Fashion Week this year and they attracted the attention of thousands with their #Tweetcam campaign, which allowed fans to tweet @Burberry using the hashtag #Tweetcam to receive a photograph from the Burberry show, shot and sent live from the catwalk and personalised with their own Twitter handle:
— raj deans (@rajdeans) February 23, 2015
Another recent campaign for their Burberry Kisses lipstick has also proven a success. It invited Twitter users to nominate a friend to receive a free Burberry Kisses lipstick and captured the attention of Burberry fans and makeup lovers alike.
— Sophie Deering (@SophieDeering) March 17, 2015
I feel that Twitter is by far Burberry’s best used platform and if they continue to launch interactive campaigns in the way that they have been doing so, their fan base will doubtlessly grow even further.
I’m a big fan of Burberry on Instagram, as they post some really creative content on there, at the same time as preserving their air of sophistication and maintaining ongoing themes for the brand on social. In the build up to London Fashion Week, they posted a series of #cinemagraphs of animated sketches from their LFW collection, catwalk makeup designs and moving images of scenes around London. I think they were a really nice touch to Burberry’s LFW promotion strategy and clearly their followers thought so too, as the average cinemagraph posted was receiving north of 35k likes:
A video posted by Burberry (@burberry) on
In addition to these, they staged a collection of charming images created using figurines dressed in their trademark trench coats and photographed in a number of scenarios around London. I feel that images such as these are a welcome addition to their usual photographs of Burberry collections and the effort put into them is evident, giving the impression that they really care about their brand’s portrayal on social. They make productive use of hashtags on their Instagram posts and are sure to incorporate the #Burberry hashtag into each of their posts for optimum exposure, though with 2.8m followers on Instagram I don’t think that reach is a significant issue for the brand. A London Fashion Week community was built under the hashtag #LFW across the platform and Burberry were sure to incorporate it into their posts throughout the event for optimum exposure. Instagram can be held accountable for a significant part of the success Burberry have seen for their Art of the Trench Coat campaign. Thousands of posts can be discovered under #ArtoftheTrench and #AOTT, including professional Burberry contributions, as well as User Generated Content. They have not placed much focus on this recently however and I feel that it could be revived to encourage consumers to contribute more content of their own:
British artist @JessicaMayUnderwood in a #Burberry trench coat on Larchmont Boulevard, LA #ArtoftheTrench #AOTT Shot by @BenjaminHeath A photo posted by Burberry (@burberry) on
Most of Burberry’s posts attract a large number of comments from followers, however the majority of these are for the purpose of bringing friends attention to the image.
On the whole I really enjoy the Burberry content on Instagram and feel that it is very befitting with the brand. The consistency of their posts is on point and they do a great job of maintaining fans’ interest.
Overall I feel that Burberry may just be the most digitally innovative brand of its kind and are really successful at standing out from rival fashion brands on social, with their unique and creative campaigns.
The quality of content shared matches up to their high calibre brand image and their profiles maintain a consistent sense of sophistication across all platforms. It is evident that they have a clear vision about how they want to present the brand on social and execute it adeptly.
Their one downfall however, is that interaction with fans tends to be somewhat one sided or computer generated. This being said, they successfully encourage engagement from followers, including user generated content for their Art of the Trench Coat campaign and participation in Twitter giveaways.