Brand Adoption: More Beneficial than Before
Come September, Burberry comes to consumers quicker. This month, Christopher Bailey confirmed the trench-and-plaid-powerhouse would pump-up its season-less clothing, putting men’s and women’s pieces on catwalks together. Clothes will strut straight from runway shows into store windows, point-of-purchase materials and advertisements. The move is natural and strategic given Burberry’s trajectory to a wider-customer runway involvement. Once, lagging months between shows and selling were wholesale buyers’ chances to predict and pick their customers’ Fashion Week favorites. Advertisements were avenues for product awareness, which unlike today’s Instagram posts, put average prospects’ peeks at clothing just prior to their ability to purchase it. But once online, live-show, streaming stole steam from advertising campaigns, and catwalks became interactive social experiences where audiences could learn about, review and share looks, things changed. Now, customers start the brand adoption process—awareness, interest, evaluation—before the last look leaves the runway. Why dilute their likelihoods to move onto the trial, decision and confirmation phases by sticking months between stages?
Fashion is diversifying. Trend cycles are quickening. So with band activations, companies cultivate customer sets who carry them through changing crazes. Like Burberry’s decision to bind Brit, London and Prorsum lines under one ‘Burberry’ label, their quick-to-consumer move is grounds to grow a brand community. Burberry presents customers a single, Brand advantage, which will push buyers through an un-pausing adoption until their likings are confirmed.
Design and Delivery interactThe need for Global marketing feeds and is fed by Burberry’s effort. In building a branded world Burberry knows stores, which (with proper buying) would filer styles to specific geographic and consumer truths, won’t be customers only brand exposition channels. Experiences live strongest when delivered through each customer touch point, many of which are digital. Worlds will pull prospects, regardless of their location, into a single brand community. Season-less fashion saves companies from saying “our core customer needs this type of clothing for this season,” boxing their targets into one region. Customer exposure to incompatible clothing makes them feel less-than-priority. It weakens their brand connection and loyalty.
But Burberry’s effort to be customer compatible doesn’t make customers design dictators . Because the brand is committed to a wide-spread community, with diverse experiences within each time, Burberry’s fashion must be less a mirror of the customer and more a mirror of the Burberry character. It’s shared brand love connecting each community member, not a shared situation which designs could reference. In designing clothes to help realize the brand image, the brand image becomes buyer compatible. Sure, Burberry uses global customer references, take the city prints from London to Shanghai Prorsum designers put on 2014 T-shirts. Though the strategy is to open the British, Burberry style to life in different geographies, not be an influence of them. The overall looks, like the brocade bottoms the shirts tucked into, referenced the 19th century British crafts movement.Similar this season, Burberry is not saying it’s roots start elsewhere than England. The 2016-17 collections live in London style, seen by a branded sweater, red color-pops and military coat derivatives. Burberry’s speedy clothing delivery will increase the masses’ observability of this style, and in turn mass liking and the brand community numbers. By sending clothes straight to the shop, there is limited time to trickle them down into different regions, adapted by regional designers. Burberry’s untethering this style from sole British ownership, for only the British experience. The customers’ experiences spark the desire to own the Burberry character; they do not own Burberry because of its direct reflection of their experiences.
This article is Part I of a two-part series on Burberry’s move to make collections purchasable right after their runway walk. Part I examines Burberry’s decision to change their delivery process, and how trend is both an influencer and directly influenced by the new strategy. Part II will examine this effort’s risks and rewards.