Angela Ahrendts

Friday 20 August, 2021

“I grew up in a physical world, and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social.”

This week's quote is by American businesswoman Angela Ahrendts.

She was the CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Angela left Burberry to join Apple in 2014 as a member of its executive team as Senior Vice President of retail and online stores. 

Angela was ranked 25th in Forbes' 2015 list of the most powerful women in the world, 9th most powerful woman in the U.K. in the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour 100 Power List, and 29th in Fortune's 2014 list of the world's most powerful women in business.

She was also a member of the UK's Prime Minister's business advisory council until it was disbanded in 2016.

Angela is considered the digital pioneer for Burberry. She was responsible for bringing upmarket fashion online. Which means that in recent years Burberry has been as comfortable talking about smartphones as skirt lengths, and that's saying a lot for a fashion brand. She had forecasted the "dissolution of boundaries separating physical and digital channels" before joining the company. 

Her vision was to "serve completely any consumer on any platform in any geography" and she took the same line when she went on to work for Apple. Burberry acknowledges that bringing the brand online has saved them from the global recession.

They use social media extensively, building excitement around its collections by photographing clothes before they leave the studio and backstage before they appear on the catwalk. In fact, Burberry helped launch the iPhone 5s by using dozens of them to live stream the London catwalk show. 

We applaud Angela's forward-thinking and are deeply inspired by her approach to digital marketing and community building. Nowadays everyone shops online, so doing things digitally is no longer a niche. In fact, that's the most basic step towards your goal. What matters the most is how you leverage the digital technology available to you and how you choose to communicate with your target audience.

Do you simply put your content out there on social media and websites? Or do you take efforts to understand and build your community and leverage the merge of the physical and digital world?

Understanding your community also includes doing things that benefit them. Providing them with value and being responsible for your actions. That's what separates good businesses from great ones.

Simply put, use social media and websites as a means to empowering employees and customers with digital tech. This will help you position your business as an engageable and forward-thinking leader in your industry.

Today's Quote

 Graphic depicting Angela Ahrendts and her quote “I grew up in a physical world, and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social.”

Who is Angela Ahrendts?

Angela Ahrendts is the former senior vice president of Apple's retail and online stores. She left the company in February 2019.

She moved to New York City to work in the fashion industry.

In 1998, she joined Fifth & Pacific Companies as vice president of corporate merchandising and design. After being promoted as the senior vice president and the executive president in 2001 and 2002 respectively, she left the company to join Burberry in 2006.

Burberry's company value rose during her tenure from £2 billion to over £7 billion. CNN Money reported that during 2012, she was the highest-paid CEO in the U.K., making $26.3 million.

Angela is a non-executive board member of Save the Children, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Airbnb, and Charity: Water. As of July 1, 2020, she is also a non-executive member of the board of WPP plc,  which is the world's largest advertising company. 

DDSN Interactive is a leading web design and development company based in Melbourne, Australia. We specialise in agile digital technology and we have helped multiple businesses leverage tech to accelerate their digital transformation. We have experience working in sectors like manufacturing, education, associations, and government institutions.

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