Classic, elegant and quintessentially British, Burberry’s latest reinvention made many take notice thanks to a powerful social media strategy.
In 2018, after years of slumping sales, the iconic British fashion label waved goodbye to its longtime creative director-turned-CEO, Christopher Bailey, and ushered in a new leader, whose bold reputation precedes him.
Upon welcoming Riccardo Tisci as Chief Creative Officer, Burberry underwent a significant makeover in more ways than one.
In only several weeks, Burberry ushered in a new logo, monogram, and their bi-annual fashion shows—often the highlight of London Fashion Week and known for their live performances—were drastically pared down.
A new era of Burberry is upon us, and nowhere is this more evident than on social media, where the brand weaves their heritage and contemporary character across Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube seamlessly.
What You’ll Find In This Post:
Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, the luxury fashion label is synonymous with classic British style and is most famous for its trench coat and iconic plaid.
Today, in a time where fast-fashion dominates Instagram, Burberry’s clothing remains as iconic as ever.
In recent years, the brand has become well-known for their runway presentations, which draw the likes of Britain’s most famous faces to their front row.
And as most brands hesitated to embrace the digital space, Burberry spearheaded the move, by spending just as much in the digital and social media space as they did on traditional advertising.
Online, the brand previously leveraged its connections with famous British icons, such as Naomi Campbell, Cara Delevingne, Andy Murray, James Bay, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to name a few, via engaging content such as makeup tutorials, viral fashion films and music videos.
Social Media Strategy And Brand Cornerstones
The New Burberry
Prior to Tisci’s first show, Burberry’s branding underwent a facelift by famed graphic designer Peter Saville.
It was the first time in 20 years that Burberry had introduced a new logo.
And while many traditionalists criticized the new sans serif branding, Burberry ensured its connection to the past by sharing brainstorming emails between Tisci and Saville to social media.
The new logo and monogram were revealed one month before the Spring/Summer 2019 show, allowing ample time for the potential backlash to die down and to tease further brand components before September 17.
Over on Instagram Story, Burberry translated the email into a video by filming the printed conversation being photocopied. A simple yet effective way to stop Story viewers in their tracks.
The minimalist and forward-thinking revamp of a heritage brand was bound to draw controversy on many fronts.
With a new Italian COO—in a Brexit-charged climate—and a non-traditional logo, Burberry tempered backlash by introducing content hashtags #ThomasBurberryMonogram and #BurberryHeritage that were used alongside images of archival pieces from which Tisci drew inspiration.
The campaigns, which extend to Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest included simple shots of archival items. The images were paired with minimalist captions that were in keeping with the brand’s new edgy aesthetic and strong heritage—a component intrinsic to the brand.
— Burberry (@Burberry) September 17, 2018
Taking You Behind-The-Scenes
The appointment of a new creative director often attracts major press for a fashion brand, but after the initial announcement, much of the buzz quickly dies down.
In the lead up to Tisci’s debut show ‘Kingdom,’ Burberry released several sneak peeks to draw increased buzz.
Likely taking notes from similar successful fashion documentaries such as “Dior and I,” Burberry released a short documentary titled “Inside the Lift” which featured short interviews with Burberry staff, Tisci included, days before the show.
Launched on IGTV four days before Tisci’s big show, the no-frills film has garnered over 64,000 views. Burberry further edited the footage and released shorter snippets to their Instagram Story, feed, YouTube channel, and Twitter feed—generating an additional 200,000 views.
Instagram Shopping: Limited Edition Products
To commemorate their new look, and draw further buzz and sales, Burberry launched limited edition products that featured the new #ThomasBurberryMonogram.
The limited edition collection of pieces, including Tisci’s “very first piece” (a basic Thomas Burberry Monogram T-Shirt), appeared to be a test for an ongoing series of products released on the 17th of every month called the B Series.
Select products, which went on sale three days before the show and on the day of, were also sent to influencers and celebrities such as British actress Lily James and Rihanna, who took selfies in the clothing or were photographed wearing them while out in public.
The pieces were only available to purchase via Instagram for 24 hours, adding urgency to each post and tempting us all to complete impulse purchases directly within Instagram.
Burberry combined the magic of celebrity influencers and product tagging by regramming content to their feed and tagging the products in each post. Since the items were limited edition, Burberry has since removed the product tags from their feed.
On Instagram Story, Burberry further highlighted the time-sensitive factor of their capsule collection by creating countdown videos that featured the entire collection.
Promoting The Big Day
As Burberry always does before a big show, the brand promoted their runway live stream across all of their channels.
Adding a personal touch this year, the luxury brand sent ‘personal invitations’ in the form of reminders to those who liked a specific tweet.
A tactic that has likely delivered major impact for Burberry is its segmenting of content across social channels.
Rather than sending out several posts that cover a range of different topics, Burberry focuses on one message at a time and extends their content for this stream for as long a two weeks in some cases.
As you can see below, during the launch of their new #ThomasBurberryMonogram, Burberry posted images of their new print for 14 days.
Not only does this result in an impactful Instagram grid and prevents from your messaging from being diluted due to Instagram’s algorithm, it also allows for your message to fully penetrate with followers as they’ll potentially see similar posts multiple times within a short timeframe.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, Burberry likes to keep it simple.
Despite marketing a range of luxury products, thanks to Tisci’s arrival, Burberry’s approach across social media remains pared down and minimalist, giving all brands hope that they too can have major impact just by sticking with the basics.
Planning, strategy, consistency and execution are what makes Burberry stand out on social media. With new pieces that are rather simple, the label has managed to create buzz by telling a compelling story that people want to hear.
By making heritage cool again, and letting their shoppers in on even the most mundane of emails, the brand was able to create content that felt luxurious, cool, and fresh, while also resonating with new and old devotees.