Ellie (my most avid reader) recently sent me an article about Burberry’s attempts to break into online shopping and expand its sales. Most of the article was about high end brands and how much trouble they are having in the economy. The author makes only a brief mention of the most interesting part: Burberry has created a website, artofthetrench.com where readers can write their stories about trench coats in their lives.
Admittedly, this seems a touch vapid. Oh, how my life was changed by my $1,400 jacket. However, the people who are willing to shell out the $1,400 for such a jacket must have a connection with it. It is also a memorable purchase.
My father owns one and often tells the story of when he received it. The story is a bit sappy and melodramatic (sorry, Dad), but would fit very well on this website. He then bought one for my mother and subsequently my step-mother, more stories.
Burberry knows that to create life-long brand loyalist, it must connect with more than just style. By expanding the meaning of the trench coat, it is expanding the brand.
But who cares about your trench coat? Anyone who does research on the internet will. I spend hours searching the internet. In fact, the amount of time I spend searching for something is usually correlated with how much I like something.
I found myself searching Loeffler Randall far too frequently and I finally bought the long lusted after boots. Same with people in the market for a high end trench coat. There are people who want to make the educated choice.
Burberry is also controlling the tone of the conversation. Rather than affiliating with a celebrity, they are creating their own identity for the trench coat, that is, you.
Also see the fabulous Sartorialst’s take.
I also commend Burberry for their use of Latin in naming their high end line Prorsum.