Three Ways to Royally Defend Your Brand

You have to hand it to the Swedish Royal Family.  They know how to build and defend their brand fortress amidst the cynical masses. And today’s organizations, faced with similar wary tribes,  can learn from their innovative marketing strategies.

While Magnus and I visited our family in Stockholm last week, we serendipitously chose to stay in Gamla Stan (Old Town) on the exact day of King Carl Gustav’s 64th birthday. We spent hours wandering the museums, observing crowds, and basking in 800 years’ worth of historical symbols. To top it off, I caught a glimpse of HRH Carl Gustav marching across the Palace courtyard. (see below). That’s where the branding campaign started to reveal itself.

Carl Gustav birthday

Beginning June 6, the Stockholm Tourism bureau will host Love Stockholm 2010, a week of wedding and summer celebration. During that week, HRH Crown Princess Victoria will wed Daniel Westling, her boyfriend of 7 years. Instead of simply hosting an elaborate wedding (think Princess Diana), they are dedicating an entire week of festivities and linking the wedding celebrations to Sweden’s National Day. This  massive series of events is expected to generate at least $2B in tourist and product sales.

And it doesn’t stop there.

The Royal Family inked a deal with sundry novelty companies to commemorate the occasion, including Cloetta chocolates.

Whether you love the idea of royalty or not, you have to give them credit for perpetuating the Royal Family experience through licensing and cross-promotion.

In this video, I can’t help but share my excitement over those commemorative chocolates. (Every trip I take to Scandinavia gives me license to eat chocolate).

What’s the impact of the Swedish Royal Family brand strategy on its loyal subjects?

1. It provides a modicum of stability in a volatile world.  While volcanic ash disrupts the lives of millions, the family brings comfort, escapism, and tradition.
2. It brings optimism to a somewhat pessimistic Swedish economy.  While the majority of the EU members reel from Greece’s $110M bailout, the family offers a ray of hope that love conquers all.
3. It links profits to purpose.While many cynics find the royal wedding dishtowels, dinnerware, and “limited edition” Cloette chocolates bordering on the absurd, the family donates a percentage of profits to their new children’s foundation.

It is possible to discover brand strategies and innovations in the strangest of places.  With the right clues, you just may rule your market.

Copyright 2010, Lisa Nirell.  All rights reserved.

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