Burberry-Case Write up
André Costa – student 894, Class TB, Marketing in a Dynamic World 19-09-2011
Burberry represents nowadays one of the most successful fashion brands across the world. Founded in 1856, the company’s expansion and growth was the result of an accurate management planning and a recent winner marketing strategy that will be explored below in this article. The focus on this case study is based on the challenge of repositioning in the market the brand Burberry, which by the middle of the 90’s was losing distinctiveness due to the lack of consistency and cohesive vision that it takes to be positioned as a luxury goods retailer. When Rose Marie Bravo entered as chief executive in 1997, Burberry was then facing structural and strategic issues that needed to be approached adequately. It is of great relevance to mention Bravo’s background prior to Burberry: 25 years of experience in the industry and recognized talent within the executives in the retail and fashion trend meant the demanded experience and skills brought aboard in order to embrace the challenge of repositioning the brand as one of the luxury greats. Prior to Rose Marie Bravo’s entrance as chief executive, although the brand represented a profitable business in the past years, it was now attached to an older costumer base due to its conservative looking. At that time, the quality of the earnings was therefore decreasing and the brand was being alienated from its greatness and personality in the luxury goods market over time. By that time Burberry was concentrated on a narrow base of product line, selling umbrellas and outerwear, which proved to be an unsuccessful strategy. In addition, other weakness that needed to be addressed was clear for the company: the great dependence on the distribution and licensing agreements. When Rose Marie Bravo arrived in the company in 1997, to hold the front-line of the top management, her envisioned goal was to convert Burberry’s image from the tired and oldfashioned outwear manufacturer into a new fresh luxury lifestyle brand. The challenge was then to maintain Burberry prestige as a symbol of luxury and durability, and make the brand great also from a global perspective. The trench coat Burberry’s core product and the check pattern of camel, black, red and white plaid design that became a registered trademark, both represented the pinnacle of the market positioning of Burberry as a luxurious and durable brand. In addition, Bravo’s challenge was also about maintaining the customer loyalty and extending simultaneously Burberry’s customer base, with a younger and wealthier consumer targets insight. This had to be done without compromising customer burnout. The needed repositioning took place through the introduction of a new product line and trough reinventing the role of the check pattern, which started to appear visible less often in the new products in the market. The line product extension and simultaneous updating of the traditional products
represented a key factor allowing the brand to unlock in the market a niche in the middle of vanguard fashion and classic fashion. When repositioning the brand to this new place, Bravo kept the concern to maintain a consistent look across products in order to generate a strong affirmed position in the market as the luxury functional goods company. The new marketing plan allowed Burberry to overcome one “Achilles’ heel” referred before, the distribution. Bravo and his team adopted measures in order to exercise closer control over the value chain of the non-licensed products and conceded licences to partners with expertise skills to design, manufacture and distribute - under Burberry’s name - products outside company’s core skills. This way Burberry’s product quality got improved allowing the alignment of the business strategy with the recovery of the excellence that a luxurious brand demands. Distribution was also restructured through renegotiating contracts,...
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