Royal Marketing: 5 Branding Tips to learn from the British Queen and Royal Family
As of 2022, there are 43 sovereign states across the globe with some form of monarchy in place.
But the British Royal Family remains the most popular and established in the world. One of the key reasons behind that is the exemplary use of marketing by the British Royals. And it is not just about their overwhelming popularity. In real monetary terms too, their marketing strategies have yielded great results for Great Britain and themselves.
In light of Queen Elizabeth’s death, many realized the significance of the monarch together with the Royal Family and how they felt they knew her, despite never having met her.
There is more to this omnipresence than meets the eye. And as a digital marketing agency in the UK, ClickDo has done some digging and uncovered a few intriguing stats and facts that prove the efficacy of the royal marketing and branding strategy, which we can all learn from.
1. How to establish big brand value
According to research by Statista in 2021, the Royal Family is the 5th biggest corporate brand in the world. They have beaten the likes of Nike, Disney, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola. Can we put a financial label on the value of the British royal brand? Of course. Estimates suggest that the royal brand of the UK monarchy as a business sits close to £67.5 billion.
As for the Queen’s personal brand, her personal brand was
- 23 times bigger than that of the Beckhams.
- 16 times bigger than Beyonce’s.
- 6 times bigger than Kim
- 6 times bigger than Bill Gates.
- 3 times as much as Oprah Winfrey’s, and after the Queen’s demise, everything from British passports to coins and currency, stamps, uniforms, and even the national anthem will require change.
The British Queen used to be the head of state in most of the 54 Commonwealth nations where her image remains on the currency for example. This is obviously a brilliant marketing feature of the British Royals to remain relevant and in a nations radar.
Some of the Commonwealth nations however might choose to become a Republic just as Barbados did recently. Why now? Because the history of the British Royal Family includes involvement in the slave trade, which is more of an example of bad publicity, but which equally keeps them in the news.
2. Marketing with souvenir and memorabilia sales
Disclaimer: The Royal Family does only sell officially branded merchandise via the Royal Collection Trust. The sales of Royal souvenirs and memorabilia by other business owners are separate and the Royal Family does not get a share of that.
Surging especially during special events such as:
- During the Queen’s platinum celebration, the Centre for Retail Research found that people had spent over 281 million pounds on souvenirs, memorabilia, and gifts.
- Recently, after the Queen’s departure, a London-based seller has listed his collection of commemorative Queen Elizabeth coins on the classified site Gumtree for £70,000.
- A Queen Elizabeth Barbie doll is being sold for £3,000 on Gumtree.
- A stool that is claimed to have been used at the Queen’s coronation in 1953 is available for £650.
It is only a matter of time before these items get purchased by loyal fans of the Royal Family. Though the Queen is here no more, her marketing legacy lives on. Let’s take a look at …
The 5 key tips from the royal marketing handbook
1. Partnerships with the right people and brands
Brand partnerships are an ideal way for businesses to reach their audiences. And the Royal Family, specifically the Queen, has had several successful partnerships with people and brands. Need a long-standing example of such a partnership? The Madame Tussauds Museum.
The famous museum has not one but multiple wax figures of the members of the Royal Family. And not just in London but in New York, Tokyo, and other locations too. With some of these wax figures looking extremely real, they are a center of attraction for the visitors of Madame Tussauds. For the Royal Family, it’s yet another avenue to stay in the public eye and keep up their brand presence for their brand campaign.
Another brand partnership of the Royals, which grabbed several eyeballs (from across the globe), is the Netflix show The Crown.
A hit among audiences, the show was titled “TV’s best soap opera” by The Telegraph.
The show was also criticized by people for its inaccuracies though. However, it did manage to make the Queen and the Royals a household name across the globe.
Also, during Platinum Jubilee Week, Queen Elizabeth II had a lovely surprise for her young fans. She was featured in a commercial with the Paddington Bear.
The Paddington Bear had previously mentioned visiting the Royal Palace and seeing the Queen. But this time, the Queen decided to have tea and snacks with him. With these kinds of media and entertainment collaborations, the Royal Family has managed to stay relevant and in the public eye. And the result has been a steady rise in their global popularity with their effective advertising strategies.
2. An element of mystery
Here are some intriguing facts you may not be aware of:
- The Royals do not regularly conduct interviews.
- Most Royals don’t have their own social media accounts for sharing personal pictures or updates.
- They are hardly seen outside privately unless they act in their official role.
- Very little, if anything, is known about the private lives of the Royals.
And that’s exactly why the public latches on every teeny-tiny bit of detail that they can gather about the Royals. From small updates about the Queen’s health to stories about their appearances make headlines. How? Because of the element of mystery. Going viral is a talent in the 21st century that not many can boast of. The Royal Family, however, has become a pro at the task.
Here’s an example:
The Prince and Princess of Wales (then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in 2021. The couple took to Twitter and posted a cute family video thanking fans for their wishes. The tweet got more than 93k likes.
For any personality or brand, that much engagement on social media is nothing short of a bounty. The key? Creating a sense of mystery about your brand. Spiking people’s curiosity and making sure they are always curious to know more when you end up sharing a glimpse.
3. Creating a valuable social impact
For the Royals, like it should be for any brand, creating a social impact is not the last priority. It is the first. According to the official Royal website, the Queen and her family have lent their names (and a lot of their time) to hundreds of causes and charitable organizations. Currently, the members of the Royal Family are listed as the patrons or presidents of over 3,000 such organizations. These range from well-known organizations like the British Red Cross to newer, and much lesser-known ones, and even regiments in the Army.
Now, most businesses do not have as much money at their disposal as the Royals. So, it is understandable if you cannot be the voice of social causes. In fact, you don’t have to give up your revenue to charity either. All you need to do is create a social impact story for your business to go with your brand. That is achievable in more ways than one. For one, you could treat your employees fairly and make sure that you lead by example in your community. You could be ensuring sustainability during your production process. And creating products and services that genuinely help society. Add a pinch of PR and media coverage to all this. And it will make sure your audience associates your brand with “something that’s good for society”.
4. Building a smart voice on social media
Most Royal family members do not have personal social media accounts. The official handles ‘The Royal Family, ‘Clarence House’ and ‘Kensington Palace’ on Twitter and Instagram are where you can get updates about and peeks into royal life. Though some members of the Royal family have now created a personal social media presence. For example, you can follow Princess Eugenie (granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II) on Instagram. She keeps posting cute pics with her husband and son, August.
The personal factor aside, the official social media handles of the Royals are also used tactfully for other purposes. For example, when the Royal Family comes in a negative light. It is essentially via social media updates that the air is cleared.
Not long ago, in 2017, the Queen called an emergency meeting at 3 in the morning. There were a lot of misinterpretations doing the rounds in the media about the agenda of the meeting. Many assumed it was because internal threats were discovered. Others had concerns about the then-96-year-old Prince Phillips’ health.
The rumors were, however, quickly put to rest. How? The official Twitter and press report from the Royal Family mentioned: “…there is no reason for concern”.Other than that, the Royal social media handles have also been used to keep the narrative in control.
Brands should similarly create a robust social media strategy for their business storytelling. It lets you:
- Stay in charge of your brand’s narrative
- Keep in touch with your audience
- Bust myths and keep rumor mills in check
- Ensure your audience knows where to find authentic information about your brand.
5. Adding a human touch to the brand
The Queen and a vast majority of the British Royals have always been loved by the public. Not just in the UK, but globally.
A key reason behind that is that the Royals have shown their humane side to the public. They have shown that despite being monarchs they are real humans with distinctive personalities and emotions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, the Queen addressed the nation. Via a BBC broadcast, the Queen thanked people, showed them that she was with them, and promised better days ahead.
That not just made people feel better about their situation but also more inclined to follow the government guidelines. Now, the Queen has been known as someone who did not discuss personal opinions often. Nor was she the type to take sides in matters of conflict.
But her address to the nation brought out her humane side. And that was something much needed in a time of crisis.
Furthermore, now after the Queen’s demise, the way the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met the mourning masses, shook hands, hugged, and received flowers has also attracted a positive response.
The Queen’s grandchildren are themselves suffering from an emotionally taxing time. Yet, they chose to be with the public in this hour of mourning. Brands too need to add a human touch to their integrated marketing and branding strategies.
It can be in the form of treating your employees well. Or understanding the pain points of your customers. Or letting loses the corporate facade a bit sometimes.
That way, you can tell your customers that they’d be engaging with real people when they choose you and not just a corporate personality with no human touch.
Bonus Tip: Bank on your brand
Once you have built a brand for your business, you shouldn’t rest. Instead, make sure you keep capitalizing on it and stay relevant.
The Royals have done that by the way of letting somewhere close to 800 entities have the right to mark their products with
- The Royal Arms, and
- The phrase “By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen” (it will now be changed to His Majesty the King)
Also, organizations, like the Royal Opera House in London, have been granted permission to use the prefix ‘Royal’.
Start implementing the Royal marketing lessons for your business today
Now that you know more about some of the Royal marketing tips, it is time to start implementing those for your business.
- For one, you need a website. Choose a domain wisely like the Royals use the .uk extension, which makes them look and feel more relevant to the UK.
- Then make sure you use social media channels to stay accessible to the audience and show your brand’s personality. But don’t go all out and keep the FOMO or secrecy factor alive. Stay exclusive.
- If needed, don’t shy away from getting into paid brand deals. Nor should you be hesitant about collaborating with other brands that you share an audience with.
Begin by scheduling a free consultation with experts to see how you can adapt the Royal marketing strategies to your business.
- Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.
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