Burberry To Join China’s Digital Revolution With Beijing Fashion Bash

Burberry Fashion & Music Show To Engage With Location-Based Social Network, Jiepang

Chief creative officer Christopher Bailey and British music group, Keane

Chief creative officer Christopher Bailey (C) with British music group, Keane

British luxury label Burberry has been well-known for digital innovation, live-streaming runway shows, creating a crowd-sourced site for their trenchcoats, and increasing the brand’s social media presence. But Burberry has been aggressively expanding on the ground as well, with the peddler of plaid recently announcing it plans to double its 57 China locations within the next few years. Most recently, Burberry has intensified its digital push into China to match its brick-and-mortar offensive, launching official accounts on four Chinese social media platforms (Kaixin001, Douban, Youku, Sina Weibo). Soon, Burberry will roll out its most ambitious digital effort in China to date, with their April 13 fashion bash in Beijing set to include virtual image technology that combines live models, animated footage and holograms, music performances, and live-streaming via Burberry.com.

This event, which celebrates the opening of Burberry’s most technologically advanced flagship at Sparkle Roll Plaza, a 12,500 square foot megastore featuring exterior LED video walls, will be held at the Beijing Television Centre. The event will also feature the British band Keane, performing for the first time in China.

What makes this event even more unique is that local pre-event promotion will be heavily social media-based, making Burberry the first international luxury label to experiment with China’s location-based social network, Jiepang (街旁网). Fans of Burberry’s Sina Weibo account who “check in” on Jiepang at Burberry store locations will receive a Burberry Virtual Badge and be entered into a drawing for VIP guest passes to the Burberry extravaganza on April 13th. The promotion runs through April 9th at 6:00 PM Beijing time, with details and results set to be posted here.

Jeremy Webb of Ogilvy Beijing, who works with a number of luxury brands in China, told Jing Daily that the use of location-based platforms by major brands is “not just about driving direct sales,” but is instead about “increasing general awareness, positioning themselves as being more ‘accessible,’ and driving attention to other initiatives to tell a more in-depth story about brand, products, and heritage.”

Burberry's Jiepang Badge

Burberry’s Jiepang Badge

While integrating location-based services and social media is becoming a more common strategy in the United States, with Marc Jacobs recently giving away four runway show tickets to Foursquare users who unlocked a “fashion victim” badge and some stores providing discounts for those who “check in” on location, Burberry is the first to act on the much buzzed-about digital revolution in China. A McKinsey report in February pointed to the commercial potential of China’s 457 million Internet users,with McKinsey estimating that the country’s mobile web users will increase by 50 percent to 333 million users — and the total Internet population will rise to 750 million users — by 2015. Additionally, China’s younger generation, 18-24 year-olds in first-tier Chinese cities, currently spend more than 28 hours a week online and make up a significant portion of the “heavy” users. “Moderate” users make up 25 percent of the online population in China, but these users mostly consist of “higher-income professionals and executives who tend to research and communicate,” and early adopters of mobile devices.

Most companies have been slow to develop their digital strategies in China, but Burberry has jumped in with both feet. China’s Twitter equivalent, Weibo, may have been getting most of the spotlight lately, but its Foursquare equivalent Jiepang and other location-based services may be the next digital tools to watch, with Jiepang in particular featuring give-aways for Levi’s and Puma and over 1,100 users already unlocking the Burberry badge in the hopes of winning tickets to the April 13 blowout.

 

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