Employer Branding Ideas
London, UK
Employer Branding Ideas
London, UK
How Burberry Could Improve Its Employer Brand
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When we say tartans, what will come to mind? Burberry of course! Pretty much the same thing with its incredibly famous rain-safe trench-coat. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come across it, let’s just say you have. So, its consumer brand has fulfilled its purpose, but what about the Burberry employer brand? Let’s find out if the employer brand is just as unique as its tartan!

In short

Just to make sure you’re familiar with the company, we’ve summed up a few facts and figures:

  • Burberry Group PLC is a British luxury fashion house that focuses on and distributes trench-coats (for which it is most famous), ready-to-wear outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics.
  • The headquarter is based in London, United Kingdom.
  • The company was founded in 1856 when 21-year-old Thomas Burberry opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.
  • The most recent number of employees dates back to May 2017, with 10,613 employees.
  • According to Forbes, Burberry reached a revenue of $3.65 billion in 2017.

Mission & Vision

Burberry = London, England. So, therefore Burberry = history. End of story. But, what’s the actual mission and purpose in relation to employer brand? Burberry is lacking a specific established mission or vision. The overall mission and vision are based on the annual letter from the CEO. Previously that was Christopher Bailey, but from now on Marco Gobbetti, with Riccardo Tisci as Creative Director. Since this has been a massive change for the company, the mission & vision most likely are slightly going to change, but we’ll have to see that in the next few months.

Employees & Community

The employees at Burberry are divided into a few divisions. There are retailers in the shops, in various locations, but also corporate & marketing departments at the Burberry headquarter. This is what Burberry mentioned in 2013/2014:

“Burberry recognises that its people are its greatest asset and therefore it strives to attract the best talent worldwide, to provide meaningful development opportunities for employees at all levels and to reward and recognise high performance.”

Burberry has hereby established the ‘Inspired People’ strategy in the latest report to ensure that the business has the right capabilities in order to keep all its people motivated and inspired to deliver outstanding results for the brand. This will be achieved through effective engagement, changing ways of working, reinforcing culture and behaviours and leading the industry in responsibility.

Burberry’s onboarding programme introduces all new employees to the brand and the unique culture, as well as offering a range of team-building opportunities throughout the year to enhance cross-functional connections. Teams also operate in a fully open-plan office environment to encourage greater mobility and collaboration. Go TEAM!

EVP Burberry

Burberry’s employer value proposition is not clear at all. It’s interesting that there are only a few pages in the annual report dedicated to the employer brand or people that work at Burberry. All other topics around employees are about finances, policies or technical details. In the responsibility section of the Annual Report 2016/2017 they also mentioned this:

“Led by its core principles of Protect, Explore and Inspire, Burberry continued to promote responsible employment practices and to drive environmental responsibility across its operations and wider supply chain, while investing in the communities where its employees live and work.”

It seems like the Burberry brand pillars are Protect, Explore & Inspire. However, these are not communicated clearly. These principles also differ from the ones on the careers website, let’s dive into the careers website in the next chapter!

Careers website

Let’s take a look at the website, it’s somehow organised and confusing at the same time. The overall colour is black, that could be both classy and negative. Instead of having a unique set of pillars, the careers website currently consists of the following four generic themes: Brand, Business, Culture, Talent. To be completely honest, these four can apply to any brand, so they don’t really bring out Burberry’s uniqueness. On top of that, the careers website has a separate section for ‘corporate responsibility’ which takes you away from the careers site if you click on it. You end up confused, in a segment of the official website. Which is strange, very strange…

Corporate Responsibility

When it comes to sustainability, Burberry has always been acting responsibly and with integrity, since it’s literally in Burberry’s DNA. Thomas Burberry was a man of strong philanthropic principles. He donated clothes and materials to the Red Cross and local charities and he was well known for welcoming those in need into his home.

So let’s dive into the segment that sits on the official website, instead of the careers page, which is (again) very confusing. This is a very white, clean and visual page. Which is kind of opposite to the careers website. On the responsibility page there’s a cool visual and quote about the future of Burberry.

“As a global luxury retailer and manufacturer, employing over 10,000 people and with over 400 retail locations worldwide, Burberry is acutely aware of its responsibilities and the opportunities to drive positive change.”

Besides just being aware of that, Burberry has set some serious ambitious goals for 2022. Starting in 2004, Burberry has established its ethical trade, community investment and environmental programmes and the first five-year responsibility goals launched in 2012.

Ambition is good. Congratulations to @Burberry for launching its 2022 responsibility goals. https://t.co/h96QsTBjFI pic.twitter.com/qX70yIhbih

— CarnstonePartnersLLP (@Carnstone) June 22, 2017

Diversity

After some digging, we’ve found that Burberry is actually doing a pretty good job when it comes to diversity. For example, in 2006, when Angela Ahrendts took over as CEO. However, the most explicit example being that Christopher Bailey dedicated his last collection to LGBTQ+ youth organisations all over the world. The message was indeed a farewell with values, equality, respect and therefore diversity.

A beautiful farewell #hastalavista #burberry Next #sunday at #LFW #christopherbailey will say goodbye with a message to support #diversity and those who are battling for this cause. A farewell full of #values and #creativity #lgbtq pic.twitter.com/8dVGsFMorl

— Mabel Gago (@Mabel_now) February 13, 2018

As of 31 March 2017, out of the global employee population of over 10,000, approximately 70% were female and 30% male. Quite impressive, with women occupying 39% of senior management roles. Supporting the importance of diversity in business and society, Burberry became a corporate member of OUTstanding in 2015. OUTstanding is a UK not-for-profit professional network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender executives. So keep up the good work when it comes to diversity!

Conclusion

Burberry, you need to get your stuff together! Possible values and pillars are literally everywhere! The content on the two websites and the annual report all have different terms, quotes and outlooks. Yes, overall they’re the same in the core, but where’s the consistency? It’s very surprising that such a massive brand doesn’t seem to have its employer brand in place. Let’s just hope that they’re ‘working on it’ at the moment. If employees don’t know the core values of Burberry, how will the consumers know? Let’s just say, Burberry should still have faith in its amazing trench-coats, but also keep an eye on restructuring the employer brand with some clear, consistent strategies and activation! Turn Burberry’s employer brand into a Talent-Attracting Tartan!