The Marketing Society Forum: Will the royal wedding provide a long-term boost for Brand Britain?
A view from Staff

The Marketing Society Forum: Will the royal wedding provide a long-term boost for Brand Britain?

The momentum that is building around the nuptials of Wills and Kate, combined with the kudos of staging the Olympics, is set to bolster the UK's commercial prospects, here and around the world.

YES - WILLIAM ORR, Director, communication and marketing, British Gas

Brand Britain has a potentially highly effective new branding device in Wills and Kate. In stark contrast to previous iterations, they come across as attractive, modern and in touch. They even seem to be gaffe-free.

The royal wedding is a big-budget launch that will drive the brand's key measures in the right direction. After that it will be about building on the launch - royal visits, appearances at London 2012 and perhaps even some royal babies.

Whatever the roll-out plan looks like, the fundamental equity is surely a long-term boost for Brand Britain (not to mention bunting and plate manufacturers). Talking of the royal 'equity', I think this would be a good time to refocus on 'core' royals and allow the long tail of minors to recede into the distance. For every Elizabeth and William, there's an Andrew, Edward or Beatrice to remind us that the cost-benefit equation probably needs to be adjusted.

Time, perhaps, for some range rationalisation.

YES - Matthew Dearden, Chief executive, Clear Channel UK

Many of us may already be over the royal wedding, but there's no doubt that it will play a major part in boosting the national identity, particularly as it is followed by the Olympics and the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. All these events will help build Britain's long-term profile.

The wedding could easily be the biggest broadcast event in history: VisitBritain predicts that 75% of the potential global TV audience could watch the event. The UK economy will enjoy a boost, especially in the retail sector, as UK residents and tourists will be out and about making the most of the extra bank holiday.

Brands are already capitalising on the rise to prominence of Brand Britain, with an influx of targeted cam-paigns and PR stunts around the royal engagement, and they will continue to do so up to the wedding and beyond.

People are already planning street parties, and this enthusiasm seems to be spreading around the world, with the dedicated blogs and virals playing on the popularity of the event.

MAYBE - Saj Arshad, Group marketing director, Vodafone

The royal wedding provides what great TV does for brands that have a compelling story - positive emotion with high-impact coverage. In this case, worldwide coverage.

The royals have always attracted global attention, and UK tourism is often inspired by a visit to the royal houses. In the absence of much in the way of feel-good stories in the world, the wedding provides an uplifting interlude.

While many in the UK are already jaded with the media coverage, globally, the royal wedding is getting massive exposure. According to some forecasts, the worldwide TV audience on the day is set to reach 2.5bn viewers, of which just 20m will be in the UK.

This story, with high impact cut-through will be a welcome kick-start to help long-term brand-building ahead of the Olympics. However, against this positive backdrop, Brand Britain will struggle in a global marketplace if we don't start nurturing creative young-sters who are genuinely competitive, ambitious and global in their outlook.

YES - CARMEN BEKKER, Managing partner, business development, JWT London

Brand Britain has its fairytale, and let's be honest, who doesn't want to believe in fairytales? Wedding fever is starting to spread, with 2.5bn expected to tune in to the royal wedding, but will it mean long-term commercial gain?

Tourism? Perhaps. Short-term exports? Maybe. Boosting Britain's morale in a time of austerity? Definitely. However, the true impact on Brand Britain will be found in the hearts and minds of the 'princesses' of the future.

A global role model is just what the royal family and Britain needs - a young, beautiful, intelligent, scandalfree (for now) 'commoner' to inject energy, style and glamour into the brand. Diana fans now have daughters thinking they could be the next Kate.

Brand Britain should embrace her as a key ambassador and use her story to sell Britain to the world. Every brand needs its own story and that story, if relevant and motivating, will boost the long-term commercial value of a brand.


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