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Aquascutum’s tangled web

It’s not hard to see where the troubled brand’s digital efforts went wrong when comparing it with Burberry.

News that Aquascutum had called in the administrators sent ripples through the UK fashion industry. When starting to review how the luxury brand has performed digitally, it’s easy to compare Aquascutum with Burberry, which has taken a very different approach to the market. Using Burberry as an example, we can see where Aquascutum’s pitfalls occurred.

We know traditional methods of advertising aren’t enough to make the cut in today’s digital world. Burberry leads the way in digital innovation and advertising and has made headlines over the past year for a number of reasons.

Some brands have been less inclined to move into the digital space as there hasn’t been much evidence until fairly recently to support its success. Thanks also to untrustworthy link building and ads that used to float around the web in its early days, people established a stigma towards digital advertising and were reticent to allocate any of their marketing budget towards it.

With the integration of new and old media, the internet is now the most valuable way to market your brand, and with new possibilities being launched all the time, such as augmented reality, digital really has no bounds.

Burberry has become a benchmark in digital marketing. When Google+ launched its new brand pages, Burberry was among the first to herald its arrival and become one of the leading brands to launch its own page, generating an enormous amount of publicity.

During London Fashion week, Burberry staged a #tweetwalk. Twitter and Burberry teamed up to create a digital catwalk and soon after, Burberry staged 3D and shopable live streams. There seems to be no limit, or marketing objective too big for Burberry, so why isn’t this the case for Aquascutum?

Aquascutum Facebook

Aquascutum Facebook

Looking at Aquascutum’s online and digital presence, there isn’t much to be seen. What we can see is a rather stark-looking Facebook page, which hasn’t been updated since last month and has very little engagement with its meagre 1,078 fans. Although 1,078 fans sounds like a lot, if you compare this with Burberry’s 12.3 million, it looks pitiful. There is also no evidence of innovation on this page and no reference to the brand’s English heritage, as its Facebook page is situated in Hong Kong with no international landing page.

Moving on to Twitter , we can see that it’s been updated a lot more often than Facebook, yet it’s still pretty bland with no imagination.

When we take into consideration that wearing typically British fashion is currently very on trend; the UK is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world and Aquascutum’s direct competitor is making sure it is covering all aspects of digital marketing, we can see why Aquascutum has been trailing further and further behind and being left in the very extended shadow of Burberry.

Aquascutum’s website links to the wrong pages and it isn’t ecommerce-ready. Customers who don’t see an Aquascutum shopfront every day and aren’t seeing any of its marketing activity quite simply aren’t aware of it. 

Other means of social media like a blog or a look book are nowhere to be seen either; these are two rather established ways for brands to utilise their natural search optimisation.

There is a lot of value in the Aquascutum brand and anyone considering purchasing it needs to be aware that investment in digital marketing is an essential part of re-establishing it as a leading British fashion retailer. This is not to say that offline marketing should be ignored, rather the opposite – a multichannel approach is key to turning the fortunes of the brand around.

  • Nishma Robb, Partner at digital marketing agency I Spy Marketing

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think also you need to consider the amount Burberry had to spend on digital marketing... Aquascutum did a lot with what they had.. a fraction of the global budget of Burberry.. I agree though there are lessons here.. and what money you do have you should spend wisely... Comparing these two brands like for like is I feel rather unfair... I sincerely hope that Aquascutum gets another chance to come out fighting... It's a wonderful British brand and it would be very sad to see it as just another footnote in history...

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