“Evolution is important”: how Burberry shows up for its customers
Five Questions with Rod Manley, Chief Marketing Officer, Burberry
How important is heritage when it comes to brand? Is there room for evolution?
Burberry is a global brand with a deep British heritage that permeates our entire business – from the way we design and craft our products, to the way we excite our customers with campaigns rooted in our history. Our founder, Thomas Burberry, had a bold vision to enable people to move freely outside and protect them from the elements, and it’s with this pioneering spirit that we approach how we evolve our brand.
Evolution is important. We’re constantly pushing ourselves to reimagine how we interact with customers and how our house codes are explored throughout our products and marketing. For example, our Equestrian Knight Device (EKD), is imbued with symbolism – representing progress and protection – and we’re interested in expressing this symbolism in new ways. For example, our Autumn Winter 2022 campaign featured members of The Compton Cowboys, a non-profit organisation which aims to uplift local African American communities through equestrian culture. It was a modern reinterpretation of the EKD and yet still very much an expression of our brand.
How important is purpose?
Our purpose is intrinsic to who we are as a company and the decisions we make daily. We believe in the power of creativity to open spaces for our people, customers, and communities. It’s our purpose that keeps us striving forward and empowers us to push boundaries and make space for creativity to flourish. It also draws on our rich heritage in its reference to Thomas Burberry’s Open Spaces manifesto which continues to inspire us today. Whether you’re in design, marketing, or in finance, there’s a shared belief in creating possibilities for others – something I’m proud to be a part of.
It’s our purpose that keeps us striving forward and empowers us to push boundaries and make space for creativity to flourish.
How does your marketing reflect your ethos of adventure and exploration?
Exploration has been synonymous with Burberry since the very beginning. We create products that empower the wearer to explore the unknown and, at the same time, ensure that this ethos of adventure is woven seamlessly throughout our storytelling and campaigns. Last month, for example, we unveiled our new campaign, Night Creatures, to celebrate our latest outerwear collection. The film is about relishing the opportunity found in fearlessly embracing the unknown – and in turn, complements the collection which was similarly crafted with exploration and discovery in mind.
How important is gaming to your brand?
Gaming lends itself so well to self-expression and creativity – values which are important to our brand and equally to our communities. These values sit at the heart of our exciting new collaboration with one of the world’s most popular video games, Minecraft. It’s the first time we’ve partnered with a gaming franchise to create a fully immersive and branded in-game adventure and accompanying capsule collection, bridging our customers’ physical and virtual worlds in a way that speaks so authentically to our collective passion for exploration.
As much as our approach is about tapping into new communities, it’s also about supporting the communities we seek to excite and serve. Earlier this year, we partnered with global esports organisation, Gen.G, to launch a four-part educational content series which champions women and the importance of inclusivity in gaming. We also supported the Gen.G Foundation Scholarship which aims to develop talented young gamers and promote a culture of D&I. Gaming is a really interesting space for us where we can test-and-learn and show up for our customers across the platforms that matter most to them, but we also want to give back to the community that has given us so much and has warmly welcomed our brand into these spaces.
Gaming is a really interesting space for us where we can test-and-learn and show up for our customers across the platforms that matter most to them.
In what ways do your brand’s decisions reflect Burberry’s belief system?
Our commitment to unlocking possibilities for communities ultimately guides the decisions we make every day at Burberry. We are passionate about philanthropy and strive to create the space needed to support communities around the world. With the help of our NGO partners and grassroots organisations, we’ve positively impacted the lives of over 1 million people in the past five years through The Burberry Foundation, which is something I’m incredibly proud of. Our values have also driven us to go further, faster, on climate action, and our pledge to become Climate Positive by 2040 signals this determination. It’s important for us to be bold if we’re going to create a better world for future generations.