Thursday, February 28th
Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, visited the Entrepreneurship Society in what was one of the largest meetings this year with School Hall completely packed. Mrs. Ahrendts first outlined her life and progression to the position of CEO of Burberry. She originally applied to read design at university, however soon changed to marketing. She gave many insightful comments on marketing throughout the night, in particular she explained that her number one rule was to always ask yourself what is best for the brand.
Mrs. Ahrendts also outlined the technological side of Burberry. This was expressed by the beautiful projections which accompanied the talk. For example, she showed us Burberry Acoustic, which gives music artists, who are clothed in Burberry items, a chance to record a music video and put it onto their site. This gives the artists exposure, as 100,000,000 people visit the Burberry website each year, while also being good advertising for Burberry. Burberry have also created their own internal social networking site. It is structured similarly to Facebook and is used by their employees to communicate with each other.
Mrs. Ahrendts also discussed many major arguments about the nature of business. She feels that people make a company great and she said that her company were “in the human business”. She gave an example of a prestigious prize which they give to polar opposite people who have worked together to achieve something great. On the argument between the importance of product compared to brand, she said “you have no business if you don’t have great product”. Interestingly, she also said that the financial side of the business has helped, not hindered, the creative side. She highlighted the examples of their knew personalised clothing tags, the introduction of sending personal messages from key leaders in the company to attendants of their fashion show, and the new initiative to record videos and pictures of Burberry making your product which are then sent to you to see. She emphasised that, although they were not going to make money on these new projects, they were excellent in developing the creative side of the company.
In addition, she talked about how Burberry keeps the British flare of their company alive. She explained that they use British models, who they help to become international celebrities. They also use British designers and do all of their advertising work in house. She also highlighted the British accents that can be heard in all of their stores.
Finally, this evening was not only an enjoyable event but it was also connected to the Burberry Foundation, which is a charity aiming to inspire creativity. In conclusion, this was another amazing talk in the Entrepreneurship Society's series of speakers and I am sure all who were there look forward to the future meetings.
Jamie Cuffe (NCWS)