Spring’s Two Biggest Branding Events

Christy Hogan Hutchinson

So far this spring has been full of news stories. From the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and tornadoes in the south, to the election of a new mayor in Chicago, every day there seems to be a new story. But two events have really struck me this month, not just because of their newsworthiness but because of the branding implications.
The Royal Wedding
The most positive brand building event of the spring (if not the year), has been the royal wedding. The associated press reports that more than 200 million people worldwide watched the wedding. I still can’t believe how many of my friends had parties to watch it in real time at 4:00 a.m.!

I think what really struck me was how well the “brand” was managed. A frenzy of people who may not have any exposure into the traditions and history of the royal family “brand” were sucked into every aspect of the wedding. From the guests’ hats to Kate’s dresses, not to mention the public kiss on the balcony – the entire wedding was flawlessly executed, and I have no doubt the images were carefully crafted with the brand in mind. The royal family has managed to convey a sense of opulence and success in a time of economic strain without coming across as out-of-touch or irrelevant to their audience.

Al Qaeda
On the flip side in a major brand weakening event, watching the news over the past week announcing the killing of Osama Bin Laden has me wondering about the impact to the Al Qaeda brand.

The U.S. has launched a pretty powerful campaign touting our military prowess, releasing videos showing Bin Laden looking old and weak, rather than the strong leader his followers believed him to be. Meanwhile Al Qaeda has not had a controlled or managed response, which seems to indicate that the carefully crafted images and messages Bin Laden often conveyed over the years are absent from the organization now. While I don’t believe the threat of terrorism is dead, I do believe the U.S. is successfully working to remove the fear from the Al Qaeda “brand”.

I think we can learn a few things from these events and how they relate to the importance of brand management. Whether an individual, organization, product or service it’s important to consider how your brand is viewed by your audience, and what kind of lasting brand impression is being delivered.


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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