1. What was Burberry’s brand equity?
A brand is a name or symbol used to identify the source of a product. When developing a new product, branding is an important decision. The brand can add significant value when it is well recognized and has positive associations in the mind of the consumer. This concept is referred to as brand equity. Brand equity is an intangible asset that depends on associations made by the consumer. There are three perspectives from which to view brand equity:
1. Financial – One way to measure brand equity is to determine the price premium that a brand commands over a generic product. For example, if consumers are willing to pay $100 more for a branded television over an unbranded television, the premium provides important information about the value of the brand. 2. Brand extensions – A successful brand can be used as a platform to launch related products. The benefits of brand extensions are the leveraging of existing brand awareness thus reducing advertising expenditures, and a lower risk from the perspective of the consumer. Appropriate brand extensions can enhance the core brand. 3. Consumer-based – A strong brand increases the consumer’s attitude strength toward the product associated with the brand. Attitude strength is built by experience with a product. The consumer’s awareness and associations lead to perceived quality, inferred attributes and eventually, brand loyalty. [i]’ The brand equity in the Burberry line of clothes clearly lies in its infamous checkered pattern. “The Burberry check pattern was introduced in the early 1920s as a lining to its signature trench coat, and became a registered trademark. Burberry’s trench coat was chosen to be the official coat of the British army in World War I.[ii]” Over the ensuing years, celebrities, politicians, socialites, movie stars, kings, and explorers all donned the checkered flag. “As a result, the brand increasingly became a symbol of both luxury and durability.[iii]” This is Burberry’s brand equity. A mere glimpse of a checkered pattern on the inside of a full length trench exemplifies the quality, durability and prestige that Burberry has come to represent.
2. What were Burberry’s consumer base and target customers? The consumer base and target customers of the Burberry label has been as much of an evolution as the brand itself. Burberry was founded in 1856. In the early years of the company Burberry was known for its gabardine (invented by Burberry) trench coats that were waterproof, breathable and able to withstand extreme conditions. The coats became the official coat of the British Army in World War I. Over the ensuing years as the brand expanded its consumer base grew to include celebrities, well known adventurers, politicians, aviators, balloonists and explorers. By the 1990s, Burberry’s product line was being sold in retail environments inconsistent with its core proposition. The consumer base consisted mostly of older males and Asian tourists. The brand was skewed towards an older customer base. The reinvention of Burberry began in 1997 and with that a new consumer base and target market was born. The new CEO, Rose Marie Bravo, immediately repositioned the brand with the goal of attracting a younger customer base. Bravo decided that there was a niche for Burberry between labels such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani in apparel, and between Coach and Gucci in accessories.
Bravo and the Burberry team decided to create different Burberry lines for different target markets. Burberry London served as the core label. The Thomas Burberry line appealed to the younger, more fashion conscious consumers of Spain and Portugal. Burberry Blue and Black labels were designed for the young men and women of Japan. Prorsum was the private jet of the Burberry fleet. It was showcased on the runways of Milan, London and New York. Prorsum was not your everyday collection of clothing. It was extremely luxurious and...