Angela Ahrendts, Burberry CEO, has fostered a common credo of democracy and creativity for employees and customers alike, all in the service of its uniquely British brand
Susan Gilchrist, Brunswick Group Chief Executive
Trying to put into words the concepts that are the foundation of a flourishing brand can be frustrating. With something that is essentially creative, there is a fine line between phrases that can sound like clichéd corporate-speak and genuine management insight.
The task for Angela Ahrendts when she took over in 2006 as Chief Executive of Burberry, an evocative luxury British brand with a history stretching back to the middle of the 19th century, was made even more complex by its unique positioning. It is a company whose founder, Thomas Burberry, had the marketing sense to ensure that cultural totems of his day, such as Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott, were wearing his weatherproofs on their epic adventures; it is a company that later invented the trench coat for wartime, an iconic item of clothing that has since enjoyed myriad fashion incarnations; and more recently, it is a brand that has become strongly associated with youth trends across the social spectrum.