By Ian Priestman
She’s on every postage stamp, yet her 60-year celebration appears to be being ignored by brands. Blackjack Promotions’ Ian Priestman explains why they could be making a big mistake…
This is arguably the best year in the UK ever for brand marketing opportunities. The London 2012 Games will create a festival-like atmosphere across the UK, deliver huge gatherings of people high on the Olympic spirit and ripe for engagement, and present lots of potential touch points. Meanwhile, there’s also the excitement of the UEFA European Football Championship, which although taking place on the continent, gives brands excellent scope to create bespoke events around England’s – and don’t forget Ireland’s – matches.
There’s also the not-so-insignificant matter of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Yet it seems to have slipped off many brands’ radars. We see her iconic profile on every stamp on every letter we post, and it’s certainly no mean feat spending 60 years on any throne – even if it is in one of the more monarchy-friendly countries in the world. But this momentous cultural event has been completely overshadowed by the Olympic buzz and Euros fever. This is probably because the two sporting spectaculars are seen as ‘cooler’ events for brands to be associated with. Also, the promotional opportunities are more obvious.
Unfortunately, that means there will probably be a brand marketing cacophony unlike any heard before, as the scrum for promotional oxygen makes it a real challenge to stand out. In contrast, the Jubilee offers brands the chance to make much more of an impact. The problem is that many seem unsure of how to approach it.
Celebrating HRH’s 60 years on the throne seems more about Britishness, street parties and local culture than brands. However, it potentially provides the perfect opportunity for brands to really engage with communities at a grass roots level. In fact, the Jubilee gives home-grown businesses a chance to show off their British credentials without fear of being considered politically incorrect or jingoistic. What’s more, it presents great opportunities to bolster a brand’s corporate social responsibility credentials through some careful social marketing that could stay long in the memory of the communities it touches, while filling stakeholders and staff with pride. The results can be prominently displayed on a brand’s website and be spread far and wide through social media to show just how much it has given back to its local community.
The right approach to take is think local, deliver global. It’s a strategy that can also be very economical. For example, a brand could sponsor the street parties in its area, perhaps adding to the fun by contributing entertainers and free samples. Or put on a special Jubilee event for local people. This could then be filmed and amplified over the internet, so what happens on a local community scale is being spread worldwide. Plus, of course, your employees – and even clients – can get involved and hold their own party, so you’re also winning on the loyalty stakes.
With marketing these days being very much about adding the personal touch, brands should consider backing up their activities with targeted direct mail campaigns. Mailing out individual branded invitations to your local community, saving local organisers the time, trouble and expense can make a big impact. Mailing out similar invitations to all your clients and staff and holding a major Jubilee company bash for them, too is also a great way of strengthening the bond with your most important assets.
So the possibilities for promotional activity around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee really are endless. Now, if diamond is 60 years, what’s 70…?
Ian Priestman is project director at Blackjack promotions