Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Marketing lessons from Elizabeth II

50 years ago a young Queen Elizabeth took a bold step by broadcasting her Christmas message on television. This year the aging but equally charming and forceful Queen broadcast her Christmas message on YouTube.

The British royal family is the ultimate brand. For nearly a century they have not exercised any power and have served as a symbol of continuity and history for Britain. It is an expensive symbol costing £36 million ($72 million) per annum, even when they are hrribilis.

Elizabeth II has reigned since 1952, and in addition to being the Queen of Emgland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis; she is:

  • Head of the Commonwealth
  • Supreme Governor of the Church of England
  • Paramount Chief of Fiji
  • Defender of the faith
  • Lord Admiral of the United Kingdom
  • Commader in Chief of the Candadian Armed Forces
The Queen has been a supreme brand manager and she managed with very few missteps to storm many crisis and maintain the dignity, love and respect accorded to the British Royal Family.

There is a lesson for all brand managers in the way the Royal Family was launched on YouTube.

1) Embrace new technology

As with radio and TV before the Royals never shied from using the most effective medium to spread their message.

2) Remain yourself

Do not confuse the technology with the culture of the people using it. Just because YouTubers are mostly teenagers sharing phone recorded clips does not mean that the Queen will be wishing Christmas in cargo pants.

3) Talk to people and not at them

The Queen address is always full of very personal messages that make the listener feel that she cares about him as she probably does. Her very formal presentation is transformed into a personal communication that is very touching and sincere.

4) Show your human side but be authentic

Unlike George Bush 41 showing up at supermarkets, but very much like 43 in his ranch the first TV message was broadcast from the Queen study where she is seen as if she was in her daily routine, comfortable but without affectation.

In the Royal Channel there is footage of the Windsors acting like real humans on Christams day (Chritmas cocktail, family photo, etc).

All this is of course a very studied walk on the tight-rope between humanity and royalty that the Queen has perfected.

5) Be consistent

The message is the same weather you are listening to the radio, watching TV, browsing YouTube, the Queen is not a chameleon that will change depending on the environment, on the contrary her brand will dominate the medium so that you forget where you are and only remember that you are with Her Majesty.

If you visit the Royal Channel on YouTube you will see a very royal presence that overwhelms the YouTube brand.

May your brand be as majestic.

1 comment:

Michelle Eastwood said...


I was wondering where you got this picture from? I really like it and might want to put it in a film...

Can you let me know?