On Megan and Harry’s wedding day I found my inner cynic having an all-out battle with my inner romantic. I kept trying to decipher which bits were calculated, and which were authentic, which were from the heart and which were from the head. In the end, like any romantic movie, I suspended my disbelief and gave into the awe. I suppose a large portion of the 29 million Americans who got up at the crack of dawn left with similar positive feels.
While other Royal dynasties have crumbled under the weight of the will of the people, Britain's longest serving Monarch Queen Elizabeth II understands that their very survival depends on a favorable public opinion. In the UK public opinion of the Royal Family remains high with over 70 percent support. The Royal family’s wealth is estimated at $33.8 billion dollars and injects an estimated $2.4 billion into the UK economy per year from mostly tourism. Dwarfing this is the estimated value of the Royal Brand at $89.3 billion.
Much was on the line with the Royal Wedding and the entire affair was pulled off with perfection. If they can soften a misanthrope like me I’m sure their fan club just melted with joy. We left the Big Show entertained, enlightened and uplifted. Huge ROI for the Royals and the United Kingdom. How’d they do it?
Control the Message
Quickly after the wedding was announced, Megan jettisoned her career and her 1.9 million Instagram followers, 350,000 Twitter followers and 800,000 Facebook likes. All messages now come from the Royal Press office. For the wedding day, only 1 reporter was allowed into the events and 4 photojournalists. Without these controls, everything can quickly devolve into a circus.
Flawless Strategic Planning & Execution
It’s almost a given that the Royals and the British run things with military precision. With limited concern for budgets, world-class teams were assembled to guarantee perfection. With so much at stake, failure was not an option for the Royal vendors. No doubt the enormity of the opportunity was the true value proposition for Wedding partners. A small business can turn into global brand overnight with a successful execution. Indy baker Claire Patk was tapped for creating the wedding cake and went from 60,000 Instagram followers to over 212,000 today. Book deals and a torrent of orders were in the wake.
Stay On Brand
Big events need small details to personalize the experience. Tatler describes the details of the Barnard & Westwood invitations, “using American ink on English card, they are printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edges.”
For the flowers, “wherever possible, seasonal plants and flowers that bloom naturally in May will be used, including branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, as well as white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves.”
As the newlyweds sauntered in their carriage waving to the adoring masses on the most picture perfect of British days, we witnessed not only a fairytale coming to life, but also a total brand immersion coming to life.
Show Off Your Personality
Queen Elizabeth II seems to understand that William and Harry are the new faces of the brand. With their prime-time ready spouses and cherubic children straight out of central casting a succession plan is firmly in place. The camera seemed to understand this and whenever possible told that story.
Stories were leaked to say how Prince George and Charlotte were bribed with chocolates to behave. And we will always remember the Chelloist’s socks, the awestruck pageboy carrying Megan’s train, the choir singing “Stand By Me” and the authentic tight-upper-lip-relaxed reactions to the spirited sermon from Bishop Michael Curry.
And the hats, from the Queen to Oprah, the head art kept the eye engaged and reinforced that the Windsors know how to throw an impeccable event for a brand that deserves the crown.