05 March 2012
Cry God for Prince Harry, England and the Royal brand!
This month sees Prince Harry’s first solo tour, to the Caribbean and Brazil, doing his bit to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Following beer drinking and dancing in Belize, inevitable press scrutiny raised questions whether he helps or hinders the Royal ‘brand’? Asked to comment on Channel 5 News whether Harry is good for Britain, or risks turning into another Royal headache, like Prince Andrew, my attention was drawn to the Royal brand itself.
The debate seemed shallow and sensationalist at first, but it wasn't long before I became intrigued. What I deduced was a Royal brand architecture with the Monarch as the master brand with a series of satellite sub brands that either re-inforce the Sovereign’s authority and the Monarchy’s continuity, or help to ‘humanise’ it. Looking at the Royal brand through this prism, it’s clear that some of the 'humanising' sub-brands haven’t exactly worked-out as planned, so, while they can’t be discontinued when their shelf-life expires (like Knights of the Realm), they no longer appear quite as visibly endorsed as before.
Having consulted my brand colleagues and my travel writer wife, I then concluded that Prince Harry’s brand is brilliant for Britain. He brings a sense of normality and humour to the Royal Family which can only reinforce the public’s at times wavering opinion of our Royal institution. In other words he de-institutionalises the Monarchy. Brings it down to earth. Makes us feel more equal. He also has his mother’s natural charm with the public and a sense of fun, which is coming across loud and clear in the Caribbean. Quite frankly, it's easier for Prince Harry to touch hearts in such an open, warm and involved way than for his brother, because he is the ‘spare’ and not the heir.
Talking of the heir, Princes William and Harry make a great double-act, playing different roles but clearly held together by shared experiences. They have developed complimentary brand positions, but both possess considerable goodwill and together they are a great princely team, with Harry often playing as William’s foil.
Harry, William and Kate's contribution to the collective value of the Royal brand is significant and growing and, while it might not yet match Apple's half a $trillion, it's surely back amongst Britain's most valuable.
Like all good brands, Harry has defined his own style. He has a strong, instantly recognisable character that people identify with. As a fun-loving action-hero he appeals to both men and women and different age groups who empathize with him more because he is fallible. In this way, he adds a lot of positive energy to the Monarchy. Even his name is evocative of the best of British; ‘Cry God for Prince Harry, England and St George!’. You can sense the scriptwriter’s hand in the brand formulation.
As for him turning into a 'Prince Andrew', he is too tuned-in to his generation and their whole way of thinking. He takes his growing responsibilities seriously and does not seem in the least bit pompous. His friends are not dodgy. Judging from a recent interview with Andrew Marr, he has also, no doubt, learned who to look up to in the Royal Family; and that is most likely not his uncle.
So, the litmus test of any good brand is whether it delivers what it promises to deliver. Given the overwhelmingly positive welcome Prince Harry has experienced on his solo tour of the Caribbean, I must conclude he currently does.
One tweet from Jamaica summed it up; "Prince Harry is well hot."
Nucleus Founder & CEO
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