Royal weddings are one of the most valuable aspects of Brand Britain. Unlike a coronation or investiture—which are unwavering in adherence to the ancient traditions reminding all of us commoners that the crown has a direct connection to the parent brand (God)—weddings are a chance to connect with the zeitgeist by tapping into the national and global climate. So much coverage of William and Kate’s wedding has focused on the comparisons or, I should say the differences between Charles and Diana’s’ wedding and how this new Royal couple has made such different choices, and specifically how Kate is not Diana. What is missing from the discussion is how different the world was when these two women began their metamorphosis into a Queen.
Diana was married in 1981—a time of excess and opulence, a time when a freshly minted middle class wanted to consume and project a new kind of indulgent glamour. The Avant-garde design world was underground and largely out of the main stream. Kate’s world is part of a very different time, one fraught with recessions, wars and newly enacted austerity measures. Even more extreme is the difference in how we communicate and experience information—thanks to social media and its ability to give any commoner a voice. An entirely new set of rules exists now, and Kate—or her marketing team—is very much in control of them.
Now, this is where I’d really wanted to talk about the amazing stage craft and theater, excellent color pallette and HATS and how the whole affair was infused with just the right amount of optimism and modernity…. suffice to say methinks trees will be popping up at weddings very soon. But that is another post for another day. Back to lessons learned from Brand Britain.
A monarchy, like a lifestyle brand, has to transition its Queens gently, preparing them for the possibility that the line extension catches on and may become the new center of gravity for the brand. Its image must evolve, emerge, and transition itself. It is a balancing act where nothing is assured and the unpredictable is the rule. The zeitgeist must be tapped, the scene seen as an opportunity. Let your brand unfold in a coherent and authentic form. The biggest mistake is to simply rely on past success, or adhere dogmatically to conventions. Consistency alone is not enough . Ask Charles—he learned the hard way.