Last week, the fashion industry stormed the streets of New York for fashion week. Now, London is experiencing the same stampede. Indeed, at exactly 4 PM today (London time), Burberry live-streamed its Spring 2011 show to close the womenswear portion of London Fashion Week.
In addition to live-streaming the event on its website and numerous other websites, the company invited customers to flagship stores to view the show. Afterwards, store employees distributed iPads to participants. A newly designed app allowed them to view and purchase the items from the runway before the collection is officially released in stores.
Twitter has already spoken, and Burberry’s live-streamed event was deemed a hit — wobbly heels and all.
Burberry is a brand that has taken huge steps in the area of digital since our Best Global Brands 2010 evaluation of its 2009 and early 2010 performance. From in-store technology and digital advertising to social media, it’s integrating its brand at every channel, creating a rich, immersive brand experience for today’s consumers.
It began making news in February 2010 for its Autumn/Winter 2010 runway show. Live 3D footage of the show was beamed to five cities and also streamed to 73 websites (including CNN, Sky News, Vogue, GQ, the Times (UK), The New York Times and Gulf News). Overall, it was the most widely distributed fashion show ever created by a luxury brand, reaching an audience of 100 million users. The show created so much buzz it was a top trending topic on Twitter. Burberry’s decision to allow users to buy items from the show online 72 hours after its premiere was all the more brilliant, as it created a genuinely seamless shopping experience.
In addition to its digital coverage of its runway shows, Burberry has focused on a number of other digital projects in 2010. In June, it announced “Burberry Acoustic,” in collaboration with British bands. The series spotlights up-and-coming British musicians and shares their music via Facebook (Burberry has the most Facebook fans of any luxury brand). Burberry further supplements this and its successful "Art of the Trench.com" initiative with an extremely active Twitter and YouTube presence.
Digital has also been prioritized internally, to promote ease within the organization. Headquarters are equipped with high-tech, video conference facilities, there’s a screening room for large scale meetings and interactive video look books have replaced communication materials for collections.
Overall, Burberry’s brand management team has done a spectacular job of creating a seamless digital brand experience, which appears to be translating to sales in a tough recessionary year — as of August, Burberry exceeded yearly sales estimates. While luxury brands' use of social media can be a tricky business (too much interaction and a brand can risk losing its elite status), so far, Burberry appears to be straddling the line well.
One thing is for sure, we’ll be watching Burberry closely to see what it does next.