Even for the most breathlessly excitable armchair royal watcher, like the comedian Alexander Armstrong’s fictional TV royal correspondent Terry Devlin, Pitch@Palace is probably not the most eagerly anticipated event in the House of Windsor’s calendar.
No commemorative tea towels or mugs and spoons will be mass-produced in China to hand out to credulous, gawping, flag-waving crowds. Rather the event shows the everyday workings of royalty (at its best) in attempting to stimulate business and drive economic growth. And as we all know, no matter what your view of the institution, never has this been more important.
Nonetheless the presence of the Queen on Wednesday will add an extra dimension to the bi-annual event held at St James’s Palace – which on this occasion looks at media companies – and organised by the Duke of York, where the best of British entrepreneurs from across the country are invited to pitch their business ideas in front of an impressive guest list of industry leaders. It is to the credit of the pulling power of Andrew York that he can get the likes of Jimmy Wales along too – him, and the gilt and flummery of the palace machine.
The marketing industry is also represented among the captains of industry and billionaires. Will King, the founder of King of Shaves and one half of Savage & King; Paul Lindley, the founder of Ella’s Kitchen; and Gravity Road have long supported the event and start-up businesses. Other media businesses including Yahoo and Immediate Media have also offered their strategic support.
Given that agencies have tried hard to embrace entrepreneurs to their bosom, it’s still surprising that more don’t seek to become involved in accelerating start-ups to their next level – branding and advertising are key parts of that journey. And as well as ticking all the right CSR boxes, you never know if there might be a new revenue stream in it.
Among the media businesses present – many of whom but not all follow the start-up trend of excluding vowels in their names – is Rezonence, a company run by Tim Greatrex (older readers may remember him from his days as managing director of ZenithOptimedia) and chaired by David Pattison, one half of an adland royalty couple in its own right. The company claims to offer a new value proposition for publishers and thwarts the threat of ad-blocking technology.
Another is Codec, a company that uses artificial intelligence to understand and optimise what content marketing specific audiences are after before it is created. Given that marketers are set to spunk £349 million on this in the UK by 2020, even though much of it is shot off in the dark, it could be a very compelling business proposition.
In economically nervy times, the presence of the Queen at an event that seeks to champion new and upcoming British media businesses, which have the potential to have a global impact, should be a matter of pride in showing how important this sector is to our future collective economic wellbeing.