The UK comes to a standstill tomorrow to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Regardless of your opinion of the Royal Family (or 'the Firm') there's no denying that the country will be in a celebratory mood tomorrow.
Judging by the size of the media village that has been built just around the corner from Buckingham Palace in Green Park, a sizeable part of the outside world is also interested in tomorrow's ceremony. But do Kate and Wills' nuptials have any impact on the UK as a brand? Guest blogger Mark Rae of Brandhouse offers his thoughts...
Brand Britain on a roll
“The eyes of the world will be watching Britain on April 29th, as the much anticipated Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton takes place. It’s an event that is set to build huge emotional ties to Brand Britain both at home and away, providing the ideal lead up to the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of the Queen and London’s hosting of the Olympic Games.”
“Amidst the economic downturn, rising costs, cut backs and unemployment, the Royal Wedding (and the bank holiday) provides an emotional uplift and longed for boost to the country as people have the chance to come together and celebrate as a nation. In both the short and long term this will be a boom for UK tourism as it demonstrates the strength of our culture, history and tradition, the main reasons according to Visit Britain, Britain’s national tourism agency, that make us such an attractive destination.”
Participating in the experience – at home and abroad
“Thirty years ago, almost a billion TV viewers watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. The union of their eldest son could well exceed this as it’s being broadcast through every imaginable communications channel with Clarence House launching a website, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts to live stream the event. As a result, it’s a party that the whole world is in on and a one-off event reaching a truly global audience.”
A new take on a traditional fairy tale
“The story of William and Kate is a new take on the fairy tale romance: Prince marries middle-class girl. It reveals a more democratic, meritocratic Britain, no longer in thrall to the upper classes and royal elite. The couple’s relationship is a compelling brand story that engages people from all walks of life and is impossible to ignore, highlighting a thoroughly modern Britain.”
"The embracing of social media highlights that this is indeed a thoroughly modern couple and a symbol of a Royal household that has moved into the 21st century and is now more progressive, responsive and receptive than ever before.”
A boost for all things British
"Whilst the Royal Wedding provides huge promotional potential for UK tourism, hospitality and leisure brands, it’s also a great opportunity for food and retail brands to capitalise on or manufacture their quintessential Britishness.”
“With limited edition products ranging from Special Edition Prince William champagne, Haribo Hearts and Rings, Kiss me Kate Ale, McVities special edition biscuit tins, and Crown Jewel condoms, it’s hard to escape the surge in the William and Kate merchandise. However brands need to be careful of jumping on the Royal Wedding bandwagon; and there is a real danger of some going down the tacky tat route, losing their integrity and telling a brand story that bears no relevance to them.”
Mark Rae is business development director at Brandhouse.