It’s all over the news: Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is set to lead Apple’s retail division. This might have puzzled some techies, but those familiar with brand performance and brand desirability can see that the Apple-Ahrendts equation makes perfect sense.
Why is this a good move for Apple and what can aspiring brands and retailers learn from this pairing? More generally, when it comes to luxury, what drives constant demand and allows high-end brands like Burberry, Chanel and Prada to stand the test of time?
No, it’s not a coincidence or a certain “Je ne sais quoi,” it’s an emphasis on these five imperatives:
- COMBINE HERITAGE WITH CONTEMPORARY. Both are must-haves in the luxury market. Take Chanel and Dior. Each brand has a longstanding legacy of quality and prestige, yet each is at the forefront of the fashion movement. Constant reinvention keeps younger generations hooked and the brands are never seen as stale.
- ENSURE STRONG COMMUNICATION. Set yourself apart when you communicate with consumers. Luxury brands often build their communication around their creator or designer, leveraging his or her charisma, creativity and vision and infusing it into their products. Think Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel.
- CONSTANT INNOVATION. Always look for opportunities to “stir the industry.” According to Delphine Dauge, Agency Director at our Paris office, associating your brand with an idea, attracts consumers who expect products to reflect aspirational values that express their individual personalities.
- PUT DIGITAL FIRST. Digital strategy can no longer be an afterthought. Burberry, named last year the “world’s most digitally competent luxury brand,” has their design team create landing pages, which dictate the look of store windows. Not the other way around. Note: their emphasis on digital won’t be in jeopardy with Ahrendts’ departure. Christopher Bailey, well-known in the fashion industry for his digital prowess will take her place.
- ‘PREMIUM-IZE’ YOUR SPACE. Prada has incorporated meaningful digital and physical touch points in their stores across the globe. Take this further and imagine that a trip to the supermarket was no longer a chore, but an uplifting, interactive experience. Target, with it’s designer collaborations, is a great example of how an every day retailer can offer shoppers a potent dose of the luxury in-store experience.