Just a couple days ago, tech giant Apple announced its new hire — Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of British high-fashion brand Burberry. As she takes over the important, but long vacant role of Apple’s new retail chief next year, she will become the only female among the 10 people executive team.
Angela Ahrendts is highly praised for having transformed Burberry into a globally admired symbol of fashion and luxury while maintaining its heritage. During her 7-year tenure, Burberry positioned technology as one of the top priorities of its brand strategy. Burberry has not only established a strong presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, but also built a unified experience for its online and physical stores. That being said, bringing in her experience and knowledge of retailing, Ahrendts’ new job at Apple is to revamp both Apple’s physical and online retail efforts so that online shopping and in store experiences can be seamless.
Interesting enough, in the summer, prior to Angela Ahrendts, Apple also hired Paul Deneve, the former chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent–the French fashion house, to work on special projects. Many started to wonder what is Apple up to? What is going to happen in its next big event? A runway show? Although the marriage of fashion and technology seems quite confusing to general consumers, it is nonetheless a smart step that Apple has taken. In fact, according to a survey participated by 27 experts and 2000 consumers in UK, Apple was ranked as the No.1 luxury brand, followed by Aston Martin and Rolex.
Isn’t it interesting that a computer and smartphone maker is perceived as the most luxurious? It’s probably because the definition of luxury has completely changed over time. Now, people care much more about performance and design than logos and history. Greg Furman, founder and chairman of Luxury Marketing Council commented that Apple is just like the best luxe brands out there– it has “impeccable products, service and merchandising,” and its marketing is “image driven and highly creative.”
In my opinion, as a brand that is always pursuing a little edge, embracing a new territory and hiring someone like Angela Ahrendts may be the perfect way for Apple to market itself as edgy and unique. What do you think?