Burberry: Win Millennial Consumers on Social Media

ChrisSong    February 9, 2016

Born decades before social media, luxury brands have portrayed a lifestyle that is often out of reach for most people. Social media by its very definition, seems on the opposite side of this concept. This challenge makes most luxury brands move very cautiously into social media marketing. Burberry, a digitally savvy brand, gives us an example of how a luxury brand engage with both core consumers and the broader digital audiences on social media.

The millennial consumers are gaining more and more importance. If luxury brands want to reach out to a younger generation, social media is the way to go. As Angela Ahrendts, Former Burberry CEO said “I grew up in a physical world; and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world; and they speak social.”

Burberry is one of the most followed luxury brands on social media, including over 17 million fans on Facebook, nearly 6 million on Twitter and nearly 6 million on Instagram. Digital is at the heart of Burberry’s customer engagement strategy. And the brand focuses on creating unique and compelling brand experiences via social media.

In 2015’s Festive Campaign, Burberry launched an all-star film on social media to pay tribute to the beloved British film Billy Elliot. Celebrating the movie’s 15th anniversary, the campaign film kicks off with original footage from the 2000 film. This three-minute film imitates Billy Elliot’s iconic opening credits, in which Billy bounces on his bed to the sound of T-Rex’s Cosmic Dancer. It was featuring a cast of celebrities. One of the stars in the original film Julie Walters and Elton John lead this pack of British talent: comedian James Corden, actress Michelle Dockery, musicians James Bay and George Ezra, millennial icon Romeo Beckham, models Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, as well as Rosie’s brother Toby Huntington-Whiteley. The film received over 12M views on YouTube.

As part of this campaign, Burberry invited customers to visit its flagship store on Regent Street in London where shoppers could be able to enjoy bouncing around on a trampoline while being filmed and put into its festive video alongside Naomi Campbell, James Corden and Julie Walters. Customers will then be sent a copy of the 15-second footage that they can share and watch on YouTube and Twitter. All the activity takes place in a designated Burberry booth teamed with Google. In a behind-the-scenes campaign video, stars in the film offered their tips to the customers who were going to take part in their own films. “Don’t wear heels and have fun.” Advised by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Lessons for Others

“Billy Elliot is an incredible film full of so much joy and energy, so it was a real thrill and a great honor to be able to celebrate its 15 year anniversary through our festive campaign,” said Christopher Bailey, Burberry Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer. (WATCH: Burberry’s Billy Elliot Moment, Lauren Milligan, Nov 04, 2015, Vogue.co.uk)

From launching an all celebrities movie to inspiring customers to create and spread their own movies, Burberry found a balance between exclusivity and inclusiveness on social media. Choosing Billy Elliot which is one of the most important movies in the British movie history as its campaign content, was a successful approach that fits with Burberry’s brand DNA. Meanwhile, the sparkling new technology and millennial icons casting in the movie also engaged broader digital audiences.

“How a company is viewed online — not just by its primary customers, but also by the wider online population — can have a significant impact on a brand’s overall reputation, particularly with digitally literate young shoppers.” (Luxury Brands and the Social Campaign, MARK SCOTTDEC. Dec 1, 2015, The New York Times)

Organization: Burberry
Industry: Multichannel Retailer
Name of Organization Contact: Christopher Bailey, CEO

Authored by: Chris Song

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  1. Luxury Brands and the Social Campaign, by MARK SCOTTDEC. 1, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/fashion/luxury-brands-and-the-social-campaign.html
  2. http://internetretailing.net/organisations/rbur/, retrieved from internetretailing on February 9th 2016.
  3. Luxury Brands and Social: Challenges and Opportunities, BY KYLE-BETH HILFER, LAST UPDATED ON: AUGUST 24, 2015. http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/luxury-brands-social-media-challenges-opportunities-18030/
  4. How Burberry Embraced Digital and Transformed Into a Leading Luxury Brand, by Yousef Khan, On November 9, 2015. http://centricdigital.com/blog/digital-strategy/digital-transformation-in-traditional-fashion-burberry/
  5. WATCH: Burberry’s Billy Elliot Moment, by Lauren Milligan, 04 NOVEMBER 2015. http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2015/11/02/burberry-christmas-2015-campaign-billy-elliot-julie-walters-romeo-beckham-elton-john
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