I’ll admit it – I’m still warm in the throes of anglophilism glory post-royal wedding. I resisted as much as any former colonist could, but still found myself glued to the “telly” on a Friday morning, enduring the gibberish of the bubble-headed morning talk show hosts and reveling in all of the glory, the pageantry and the silliness that only a royal wedding can provide (was it just me that thought that the filled-to-capacity Abbey looked EXACTLY like a scene from Tintin or Where’s Waldo? But I digress…) In marveling at all of the residual reporting these past weeks on honeymoon plans, Pippa’s eligibility status and more, it occurs to me that the Queen of England (and her people, because if anyone has “people”, it’s her), is one effective brand manager. She manages her brand (the monarchy) so well, she gets people to pay her (and her family, and her people) A LOT, despite the fact that it offers little more than a unique tourism angle. And like any brand, she’s had missteps along the way (Fergie just well might be the equivalent of New Coke) but let’s review how the Queen continues to reign in the brand management department:
1. Be consistent
Yellow hat, yellow suit, dowdy shoes and a purse to match. No matter where you’re experiencing her, or how, you’ve got a pretty good chance of anticipating how she’ll be dressed and you’ll be right. For the Queen it’s not about the latest style, it’s about a specific brand expression anywhere, anytime.
2. Manage your sub-brands well or they’ll overrun you
Whether you’re a duke, princess or simply an earl, if you’re related to the Queen there is a clear expectation of how you will act, how you’ll be dressed and how you’ll interact with the people. Decide you want to break the Royal mold? The Queen will ensure that your brand associations are limited – think differently? Refer to the New Coke example stated above.
3. Manage your brand, but let your customers feel they own it
It’s estimated that 24 million people in the UK watched the wedding, with 1 million people lining the procession route. Whether you’re pro-monarchy or not, odds are, if you’re a Brit, you feel some entitlement to be involved with it. All thanks to uber detail planning, regularly staged large displays of pageantry and tradition, and a public presence with a charitable bent to keep the value that the monarchy provides top of mind and personal.
4. Always look ahead and know what’s next for your brand
Ask yourself, is there any more outdated form of government than a monarchy? They’ve been around for CENTURIES. And in England, they don’t even rule anymore. But the Queen makes sure they remain a force – through public appearances, endorsements, and charitable acts. While the Queen herself might be something from the 20th century, you can be sure that she’s counseling her heirs (this means you William) on how the monarchy should evolve to last well into the 21st. With the Queen, it’s never just about today, but keeping the brand (read heirs), fresh and relevant so it evolves as the world does.
5. Never underestimate the power of a respected brand
The Queen’s livelihood doesn’t just benefit from a positive and powerful brand image – it depends on it. Think she likes living in a fishbowl, taking potshots from the media, politicians and those waiting to dismantle the monarchy? She understands it’s part of the game and rarely, if ever, addresses them in public. The Queen knows as long as the people of Britain respect and support her, she and the Monarchy will be around for a good long while.