American Marketer


Burberry continues digital domination, tops fashion IQ study: L2 Think Tank

October 5, 2012


British fashion giant Burberry is continuing to prove its digital prowess in the premium sector, beating out brands such as Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Gucci for the No. 1 digital IQ spot, according to the 4th annual L2 Think Tank Digital IQ Index: Fashion.

Top 10 brands include Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Louis Vuitton as Genius ranking and Hugo Boss as Gifted. Meanwhile, marketers including Manolo Blahnik, Givenchy, Badgley Mischka and Missoni may need to step up their digital savvy, according to the study.

"Eleven percent of brands grace the Genius ranks in this year’s report, a significant increase from four percent in 2011," said Daniella Caplan, research lead at L2 Think Tank, New York. "Brands in the Challenged and Feeble classes are falling further behind and the disparity in digital IQ scores is widening.

"Burberry is all in," she said. "Everyone from Christopher Bailey to social media managers is full committed to digital excellence.

"Their recent store launch in London emphasizes their commitment to synchronizing between offline and online, and they consistently shine across all digital dimensions."

Brands’ digital strategies were ranked thus: 20 percent on mobile, 20 percent on social media, 30 percent on digital marketing and 30 percent on site. Marketers were given Genius, Gifted, Averaged, Challenged and Feeble rankings.

Digital savvy
A staple in the L2 Think Tank digital top 10, Burberry continued to prove itself this year.

For example, Burberry was lauded for its well executed cross-channel weather campaign. The brand uses weather components in mobile, digital, out-of-home and event marketing (see story).

Burberry sponsored the Weather Channel app

Also, it maintains the No. 1 spot on Facebook using exclusive products, campaign images and social media commerce.

Burberry was also lauded for its new Regeant Street store in London, which the study says sets the standard for digital and in-store integration (see story).

The apparel and accessories label also topped last year’s fashion IQ index, as well as taking second place in the recently-released fragrance IQ index (see story).

Meanwhile, No. 2-ranking Ralph Lauren was mostly celebrated for its mobile marketing.

For example, it received commendation for its second New York Times app sponsorship to celebrate the Olympics and its site relaunch that blends content and commerce (see story).

Ralph Lauren banner ad in the New York Times app

Ralph Lauren also has the leading mobile and search scores.

Meanwhile, Gucci’s use of iPhone and in-store integration and its shoppable video for the spring/summer 2012 collection brought it to fifth place.

Also, Louis Vuitton earned points for its mobile site optimization and Louis Vuitton Express campaign that generated buzz for its Shanghai fashion show.

Coming in at No. 10, Hugo Boss’ Dimension Beijing campaign – which crossed out-of-home, mobile and social lines – fueled its digital IQ growth.

Hugo Boss' Beijing campaign on its new mobile site

Building it up
However, other marketers did not fare so well.

For example, last-ranking Manolo Blahnik does not have any mobile or social strategies to speak of. Also, the footwear brand could use a new site, according to the study.

Meanwhile, the study believes that Givenchy does not take advantage of ecommerce opportunities or social media.

Furthermore, Missoni’s collaboration with Target brought it into the public eye, but it was not all positive, according to the study.

Interestingly, big industry players including Richemont, LVMH and PPR are not always consistent with their brands' digital IQs.

"Our most surprising find came from analyzing the change in digital IQ between 2010 and 2012, the fashion industry’s largest conglomerates are failing to scale best practices across their respective brands," Ms. Caplan said. "With the exception of PPR, each multibrand organization saw a significant decrease in digital IQ during this period.

"This finding contrasts with what we have seen across other industries such as beauty, specialty retail and hotels, in which economies of scale such as ecommerce platforms and back-end technologies are shared across conglomerates’ brands," she said.

To achieve a high digital IQ, marketers must not focus on just one channel, but all of them.

Since consumers are used to a multichannel environment, all brands must strive to connect with them on more than one environment.

This is especially important when trying to reach younger consumers, both who can buy luxury products now and those will be able to in the future.

"There is no easy way to boost Digital IQ," Ms. Caplan said. "Doing digital right requires investment, commitment and the buy-in of heads of organizations.

"It is a growth strategy that should be viewed as such," she said. "There is a general propensity for viewing digital as siloed to social media but, if done correctly, ecommerce is the real engine behind significantly increasing a brand’s revenue online."

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York