#df11, Angela Ahrendts & the Game Changing Question

I was fortunate to attend the Dreamforce 2011  (#df11) conference last week right here in San Francisco. It was exciting to hear the keynotes by Marc Benioff, Eric Schmidt and Angela Ahrendts. I’m not a technologist but technology and social media are so RELEVANT I thought it wouldn’t hurt to hear what the industry’s leading visionaries were thinking.  Ms. Ahrendts is the CEO of Burberry, that fabulous and iconic English luxury brand. She is also American from the Midwest. So just imagine a woman born and raised in Indiana who landed at a global fashion powerhouse and was invited to speak at perhaps the world’s biggest technology conference of the year. So what’s the connection between a high fashion luxury brand and social enterprise? Ms. Ahrendts and (no doubt) Mr. Benioff are betting real big on the value of social media to connect with customers.  It’s beyond embracing and integrating Facebook and Twitter into your business model, it’s more like a Declaration that this is the new Reality. Adapt or Die.

As a big fan of luxury brands, fashion and social media I was intrigued that Ms. Ahrendts was very passionate about this idea of the customer’s “journey” in the context of the social enterprise. I decided to dig deeper. I found the transcript from a commencement speech  she made at her alma mater last year and she shared her thoughts about the big “game changing question.” Do you know what your Core Purpose in life is? What is your fundamental reason for existence? Can you clearly articulate this? At the end of the day it’s about character and core values. Perhaps her Midwestern roots speaks to that.

Burberry’s Core Purpose is: “to Protect, Explore and Inspire.” Walt Disney’s is “to make people happy.” What is your Core Purpose?

Here is the link to her address:



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