Marketing Lessons From Queen Elizabeth II's 60-Year Reign

  |  June 28, 2012   |  Comments

How a great voice-of-the-customer program drives the queen's strategy, communications, and branding.

queenelizabethiidiamondjubileeHere in London, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee dominated our hearts and minds this month. We've just about recovered from a week of sore heads from all the forelock tugging, aching knees from a weekend of genuflecting, and cricked backs from hanging up all the bunting. It's been a wonderful festival of regal majesty that the people of the U.K. have celebrated by going on a massive four-day bender.

Waking up after all the street parties, 9,500 across our tiny island, the analyst in me paid some attention not just to all the mind-boggling stats and data about Queen Elizabeth II but also about the success she's turned her monarchy into.

After a near revolution just over a decade ago, Her Maj is hugely popular these days, more so than any elected politician has been in my lifetime. Consider these facts:

  • 25 percent of the country watched a celebratory concert on TV at the start of June
  • 4,200 celebratory beacons were lit across the U.K., a significantly higher number than the hundreds lit in the U.K. urban riots last year
  • Queen Elizabeth II has a positive net (fire) rating score
  • She's head of state for 15 countries in addition to the U.K.
  • She's outlasted 12 prime ministers
  • A staggering 2 percent of the U.K. population went to see this - not watched it on the telly - but attended. That's loyalty! She must have some rockin' CRM program.

So what is driving her success? Are there any learnings behind all of this over-excitement and recession-busting financial splurge that your business can learn from? Well here are some to think about:

Reward your customers. Liz does this in a few ways. She treats her most valuable followers with a special reward program or "knighthood" as it's known but she doesn't forget the long tail. We all got a day off work to celebrate her reign - amazing how the popularity and support for an organization rockets when they give something back. In the last two years the subjects of Queen Liz have been given extra national holidays twice, once for her grandson's wedding 12 months ago and this year to show our support for her jubilee. A gift to say thanks really works!

Be responsive to change. Even Elizabeth II has a digital media presence and she sent the first ever email in the U.K.

Bring in new team members to innovate and ensure you are using the latest methodologies. We were getting pretty bored by her children and everyone loves a nice wedding.

Every organization needs great leadership. And organizations need to be able to rally around a figurehead who can drive a philosophy and lead people to success - she's the Jim Sterne of monarchies.

Wear a nice hat. I couldn't find any significant correlation in the data for this recommendation but wouldn't want to rule it out.

And how do we know that all of the above delivers value, success, and improved customer perception? Well there are many studies run in the U.K. every month that ask us our opinions, querying our views of the future of the monarchy, its current performance, and how we think it should be shaped in the future. Wow! She has a great voice-of-the-customer program and uses that to drive her strategy, communications, and branding.

My not altogether serious analysis may seem a little flippant and you may not be running to the financial director to get a budget for a monarchy program kicked off. But think about this. How many of the companies you have worked for will still be successful in another 60 years? How many of your CEOs do you think will still be in place in five years? Maybe there are some things to think about here on how successful organizations behave, how to lead, how to engage, and how to change. I'm not taking down my bunting just yet. God bless 'er.

Photo showing Regent Street, London, decorated for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee is by dutourdumonde for


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John D'Arcy

John D'Arcy is the Head of Numbers at Seren, a Foviance Group company. Seren is a U.K.-based consultancy that utilizes data analytics and user experience to help improve customer experience. John has helped clients measure and optimize their marketing communications for over 15 years across digital and traditional media. He's been able to utilize the modeling and statistical skills he learned in the offline world to bring a more rigorous approach to the digital analytics industry. John's team at Seren are certified professionals for a number of technologies including Google Analytics, Adobe-Omniture, and Webtrends.

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