4 Marketing Lessons From The Royal Family

Published: March 26, 2024

Last week, Kate Middleton released a heartfelt video outlining her cancer diagnosis after weeks of speculation, and we are all hoping for a quick and speedy recovery. Prior to sharing her life-changing news with the world, the Royal Family attempted to navigate two weeks of bungled press releases and stunts to protect Middleton’s privacy while she came to terms with her diagnosis.

However, instead of conveying that everything was OK, the Royal Family’s efforts subsequently backfired via a series of blunders, such as poorly photoshopped images, grainy paparazzi pictures and even an alleged body double. Whether it was right or wrong, the internet (naturally) exploded with theories about her well-being and speculated what sort of cover-up was taking place.

Long story short, the Royal Family presented a series of “what not to do” lessons over the past couple weeks while attempting to protect their future Queen. With that in mind, there are four key lessons that marketers can learn from Buckingham Palace’s mistakes:

1. Double (& Triple) Checking Content Before Publishing

Despite the fail safes that companies have in place to ensure content is truthful and error-free, mistakes can slip through the cracks of even the most thoroughly vetted content. For example, the infamous Mother’s Day photo of Middleton and her kids had several photoshop errors that were noticeable even to the untrained eye. While I won’t pretend to know the PR practices of English Royals, I have to assume that the image didn’t go through the proper channels of approval.

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That said, no one’s perfect — mistakes happen, and that’s part of life. However, instead of doubling down, businesses instead need to ensure that they are…

2. Remaining Transparent When Mistakes Do Happen

Trust between a buyer and a business can make or break the buyer’s journey and decision-making process — or, in this case, the Royal Family’s credibility. Naturally, everything Buckingham Palace released since the photo SNAFU was consumed with a hyper-critical eye. That’s no way to build or brand credibility and, with just 8% of buyers openly trusting the promises businesses make, it’s imperative that B2B marketers ensure that they remain transparent and open with their audience.

When organizations can promote that openness, 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a completely transparent brand — and part of that transparency includes…

3. Ensuring Content Is Unbiased

One of Buckingham Palace’s last efforts to curb the rumors came in the form of a distant video of Middleton and Prince William walking around a farmer’s market. With multiple people online claiming body doubles, the internet got to work and theorized that the video was allegedly captured by a professional film maker, while the videographer doubled down that he’s just an ordinary dad.

Whether that’s true or not, it was enough for the latest PR feat to backfire, as people believed that the Royal Family was paying the videographer. There’s no doubt that kind of content exists for one reason, which is to drive a certain narrative forward. In other words, it’s a biased release.

It’s always clear as day when content is biased, and it’s a major turnoff for B2B buyers. Content that simply regurgitates an organization’s value prop or re-hashes technical information is a sure-fire way for prospects and customers to look elsewhere. Instead, marketers need to focus on creating authentic, emotionally engaging content that goes beyond thinly veiled product pitches. That said, it’s often difficult for marketers to shake off their biases, because the concepts of product and pricing are deeply engrained in common “best” practices.

However, they can take steps to remedy that bias by…

4. Knowing Their Audience

Naturally, the Royal Family — one of the richest families in the world — is out of touch with their audience. When the family released poorly doctored images and deployed obvious body doubles, they didn’t realize how easily the internet could sniff out a fake.

Similarly, experts claim that most marketers fail to understand the changing buying landscape and don’t work to refine or adjust their content and personas to keep up. In fact, soon-to-be-released Forrester research found that buyers believe that almost 60% of content is irrelevant and want to receive better information from other sources. To better ensure relevance to their target audience, B2B practitioners can:

  • Put themselves in their customers’ shoes to better understand their wants and needs;
  • Refine existing data to ensure insights and information are up-to-date;
  • Create detailed profiles of ideal customers based on their roles, challenges, goals and preferred communications channels; and
  • (Royal Family, listen up!) Monitor social media conversations and industry forums to understand current challenges and hot topics relevant to their target audience.

This article was ideated and written prior to Middleton announcing that she has cancer — the entire Demand Gen Report team remains sympathetic to Middleton’s diagnosis and wishes her the best. 

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