Re-consider Internet’s Impact: Online Branding vs. Online Brand

Before starting discussion, let us review the latest commercial campaign of Burberry online. Coordinated with the internet magnate Google, the British luxury brand has provided new form of consumer engagement, Burberry Kisses—-a visually immersive and interactive experience that allows users to send letters sealed with a virtual kiss to friends and loved ones across the globe (Swinton, 2013).



How do you feel about the campaign? Does it enhance overall brand value? Particularly, what is your comment on internet’s role incorporated in the whole commercial campaign?


Burberry catwalk

Digital innovation: Burberry is beginning to live-stream their catwalk shows. Photograph: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In fact, Burberry is among other luxury brands who have harnessed digital channels as a way of delivering unique experiences. Aiming at creating emotional connection with millennial consumers, this campaign is designed in a romantic tone through the lens of beauty products. Burberry is after all one of the most successful examples of a luxury brand that largely deploys online branding strategy. From Live-streamed catwalk shows, viral social media campaigns to online communities, Burberry’s case has illustrated the integration of digital into the luxury goods sector with £2bn revenue in the year of 2012.


Despite the significance of internet and online media campaign, what should be noticed is the limitation of internet and other digital media in branding promotions.


In the past few weeks, we have discussed a lot on the benefits that integrated marketing strategy can bring to us. We have examined various forms of online activities that a company may use to generate public attentions and user-led contents. Additionally, we have been aware of how social media can be used to create buzz and maintain good relationships with consumers.


However, when considering branding constructions, the imperfection of online channels should be equally addressed. Borrowing from Dao (2013), the idea is that although internet can be effectively used to facilitate online branding of luxuries, it will never be capable of being used to create a high status online brand. To explain, he lists 2 inherent defects of internet.    


  • An exceptional and unique user experience—-there is not much that an online brand can do to differentiate itself from others, because online properties are all limited to interfacing through a screen and keyboard. For example, while Burberry can attract people by immersive experience with high-touch human service and attention in physical store, its partner Google has great difficulty to beat competitors, such as Yahoo, by intangible products.


  • Displaying the mark as a status symbol—- Online brands have zero “flaunt” value. Nobody will consider having a address as superior and cool…


Google's official campaign

Google’s official campaign

Perhaps, you want to challenge Dao (2013)’s notion on branding. But for me, his argument is instructive, because he helps people notice the different impacts of internet towards Online Branding and Online Brand. At least, internet as an important component of integrated marketing strategy should be considered inseparably with other media channels in dealing with either Online Branding or Online Brand issues.




Dao, F. (2013) Why online brands don’t have lasting value

Retrieved from

 Swinton, J.(2013) How Burberry’s digital strategy is boosting brand value

Retrieved from

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4 Responses to Re-consider Internet’s Impact: Online Branding vs. Online Brand

  1. jingruya says:

    I do not agree with Dao’s argument that it will never be capable of being used to create a high status online brand. Even though online shopping is quite different from offline shopping, and it often provides intangible commodities, it still can provide an exceptional and unique user experience. A screen and a keyboard are enough to build a world for users. For example, some people prefer Google not only because of its convenience, but also its creative logo design. To discover the story of big anniversary and to anticipate the new design become Google’s users’ exceptional and unique experiences, which cultivate their brand loyalty. In addition, online brand does have its status value. For instance, Gmail sounds formal and mature than a QQmail. Even people using MSN may look down upon people using QQ (a Chinese chat app) (It sounds stupid but it is true in my high school).

    • Wenjing Tang says:

      Thanks Mirror. I really like your argument and awesome examples. I also believe that there are various choices for online brands to cltivate brand loyalty. I think the reason that we sometimes do not regard online products and services as luxuries is that they are cheap and easy to get in touch with. Google’s success is undoubtedly outstanding. But it is still much more harder for online brand than offline brand to compete with opponents in the market.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Wenjing, thank you for your blog post! I had never heard of this Burberry campaign and I think it’s brilliant! I just gave it a try, and the graphics and music and ‘live map’ for showing where the kisses are being sent are all such a cool user experience. I think this is a really well designed marketing campaign for Burberry- although the product advertising is minimal (when you send a kiss, it tells you where you can find the lipstick color online), the user experience is so unique that I think it will help cultivate brand loyalty. Awesome example, thanks for sharing!!

    • Wenjing Tang says:

      Dear Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. I’m very happy that you like my post and I do think it is a good campaign case for Burberry. This time, Burberry’s communication objective lies more in creating unique consumer experience, which helps to maintain the brand image—-distinctive, luxurious and elegant British style. Also, you pointed out that in this campaign, product advertising is minimal. I think you are right. From my perspective, this kind of campaign strategy is somehow risky, because there is no evidence to show that it can work efficiently to increase sales and profits.