5 Things we can Learn from Burberry's Social Vision

We’ve  heard and talked about ‘web 2.0’ for a few years now – and the latest tranche of buzzwords appearing on the web now focus around ‘social enterprise 2.0’  or often just ‘Enterprise 2.0’.  social media enterprise 2.0 Call it what you will – effectively, the sentiment is about how businesses are embracing ‘social media’ platforms and social interactions with customers, (think intelligent and continuous CRM) to enhance their entire business processes.  From customer experience, through to internal marketing – ‘Enterprise 2.0’ is the description of a truly end-to-end digital customer/brand/business experience.

Reading a recent case study about the impact of Enterprise 2.0 – the CEO of Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, when explaining their customer-centric vision, says it all really:

“The experience would be that a customer would have total access to Burberry, across any device, anywhere. And they would get exactly the same feeling of the brand, feeling of the culture, regardless of when, where, how they were accessing the brand. Everyone now can come into Burberry World the journey and mission that Burberry is on. And for any CEO that is sceptical at all: You have to create a social enterprise today. You have to be totally connected with everyone that touches your brand. If you don’t do that, I don’t know what your business model is in five years.”

That one succinct paragraph seems simple enough. However, if we break down the implications from an organisational perspective – it’s all really rather enormous.  So, let’s do just that...

1.  Total Access  Across Any Device

This means that Burberry needs to provide the same consistent brand experience across a number of outposts. Once upon a time an organisation may have taken the decision to sell via its website and offer online commerce. Now not only can they sell through the website, but via Facebook and potentially other online market places too.

2.  Any Device

Well we know that mobile commerce is on the rise and scheduled to overtake desktop commerce by 2014 (perhaps even sooner) and so organisations have to ensure that the customer experience and purchasing process is seamless on tiny mobile devices too.

3.  Anywhere

If operating in a global market – then organisations have to consider the implications for their outposts and how effective they are in different languages and how they operate and function in other markets. For example, Facebook doesn’t dominate in China and Russia – so embracing local and more targeted platforms is another educational/organisation consideration.

4.  Exactly the same feeling regardless of where, how and when they access

Seems simple enough, brand guidelines should take care of that – right? Wrong. I’ve had firsthand experience of the challenges one Europeanl retailer had when trying to create a concerted message across multiple channels in different European countries. Seemingly simple questions such as;  ‘What can we say?’, ‘Which videos can we share?’, ‘What do we do if someone says something negative about the product/brand/organisation?’ – are just a few that in themselves (and there will be many more) develop into a thick soup of organisational policy, procedure and planning.

Therefore, trying to create the same ‘feeling’ regardless of country, platform and team, and potentially external agencies, is really quite an achievement.

5.  Everyone can come into the Burberry World and experience the journey and mission that Burberry is on.  You have to be totally connected to everyone that touches your brand.

Traditionally, brands and organisations have paid lip service to ‘getting involved with customers’ – the occasional survey, the product focus group, the loyalty schemes, the crm systems.

However, developing a business whereby the brand/organisation is open to consistently undertaking in open and transparent conversations – not one to one, but one to many, is such a game changer.

For most organisations that have managed their messaging exactly as they have wanted to, in total control – this move to ‘joining the conversation on the street’ and getting totally connected to those that touch the brand/business – is one that fills many organisations with absolute dread and fear.

Getting this right takes significant effort. Precision planning, effective execution, agility to act – and a total re-engineering of business model thinking.


It will be interesting to see how the next five years pan out. Will Angela Ahrendts be right about the business model of the future? In my humble opinion – I think she will.

What say you?


Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  Carvill Creative covers all aspects of online visibility – website effectiveness, social media marketing, social media management and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.


Passionate about Online Visibility - creating an integrated approach across websites, blogs and social media platforms.