I was inspired by Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts’ transformation of 156 year old Burberry into a truly innovative, digitally led fashion-house power-house detailed in this Fortune article. We say “digital at the core” often; I haven’t come across a better real-world case of what this means.
From putting customer’s past transaction history and social media activity related to Burberry in the hands of sales associates through a custom app; to giving sales associates a direct link back to Headquarters through Salesforce’s Chatter platform; and web experiences that don’t simply mimic the retail experience; there’s an integrated, common digital thread throughout the entire organization.
Ahrendts’ work has doubled annual sales in 5 years and made Burberry at top five fashion brand on Facebook:
We can take a few things away from this transformation:
- Ask for help: Ahrendts met with Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff to get inspiration on how to put digital at the core. He sketched out how Burberry could get there; shows the power of collaborating and asking for advice.
- Digital at the core means at the core: This transformation wasn’t done across just one aspect of the company. Every channel the customer touches is linked together, both externally (Facebook page, YouTube videos, etc.) and internally (access to customer history via apps, sales associate connection to headquarters, etc.). Doing only externally or internally won’t deliver the same results; marketing alone isn’t the answer.
- Hire the right talent: If you do #1 and #2 then the talent will come. Who would have thought that a 156 year old brand would be able to compete for talent among the tech elite?