Last Thursday while I was walking through the terminal shopping mall in Heathrow airport changing flights, I was reminded how Burberry, Britain’s largest luxury label in sales, lost their cue. They are now on damage control thanks to foolishly sending out the wrong signals.
Back in September I posted Forever Relevant – Brand Stamps 4/27/10 detailing how the core essence (a.k.a. DNA) of a brand is all about its code (what the brand stands for) and cue (the sensory signals communicated over time to consumers). As it relates to cue, what was Burberry thinking when it announced over the summer they burned tens of millions of dollars’ worth of unsold goods? Burberry’s rationale: They wanted to maintain their “brand value” to safeguard unwanted items from being stolen or sold at a significant discount, thus negatively impacting the high-end price tags they command at retail. No surprise, politicians and environmental activists stepped forward to criticize the brand, as well as its younger consumers for being irresponsible. Immediately the company announced plans to overhaul their practices of destroying unsold merchandise, as well as rebrand its image including its policy regarding sustainable supply chain.
Burberry, damaged brand? Will they be able to recover their cue?