As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I attended the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Leadercast™ event last week, and Angela Ahrendts was one of the interviewed speakers. She is the CEO of legendary English fashion house, Burberry. It is credited with inventing the trench coat in , and it’s iconic plaid pattern is recognizable he world over.
Angela Ahrendts is, an American with a background as VP of Liz Claiborne, Inc. and and was President of Donna Karan International. She has been CEO of Burberry since 2006, and is considered one of the most influential business people working today. Under her leadership, the company has been rigorously evolving as an “young/old company” that is very digital and into social media,…while still retaining a firm grasp of it’s “British-ness”. As you can see from this video, Burberry World Live, in Taipei from April 26th, 2012.
British Heritage, Fashion, Music and Weather to celebrate the opening of the Burberry Taiwan flagship store at Taipei 101. Combining an eight-part 360˚ film, a live musical performance and digital weather experience, Burberry World Live will eventually tour cities globally including London, Hong Kong and Chicago later this year. This experience just goes to show how Burberry is a company that can still be modern and fresh using amazing digital experiences – but the viewer always knows it’s still Burberry.
What struck me the most about Ahrendts segment was how her company wasn’t strict about strategy. In a casual interview format conducted by John Maxwell, Ahrendts spoke about trust and intuition being the keys to her company’s success. They have a Chief Creative Officer and a Strategic Innovation Council,….and their sole purpose is to dream of possibilities. In her opinion, ‘intuition’ is the manifestation of trust. As she pointed out, you can’t prove something that’s never been done before. “We value feeling over knowing.”
“Don’t get intimidated by how fast things (technology/social media) are moving. At the end of the day, a corporate culture of trust is what makes a great company.” Ahrendts concluded. So hire the best employees you can, but then trust them to make the decision that is best for the brand. A beautiful idea, indeed.