Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you may have noticed that a certain young Henry has married a beautiful American recently. Meghan Markle – or the Duchess of Sussex, as she is now known – is joining one of the oldest institutions in the world, the British Royal family. They have spent literally hundreds of years perfecting their branding, and as a family are said to bring in £550 million every year in tourism.
But Meghan is a brand in her own right: worth $50,000 per episode for her role in Suits, the actress has spoken out on feminism, diversity (or lack thereof), education, and more during the last five years – not topics that have been typically addressed by the institution that is the Royal family. So how do you merge these two very different brands?
We take a close look at the new web page on the Royal Family’s website dedicated to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and assess exactly why the decision to include and exclude certain messaging demonstrates how these two brands are coming into alignment.
First, find the common ground
Fortunately for Harry and Meghan (or perhaps their relationship is in part because of this), they have a shared devotion to charity work. The page highlights her work in soup kitchens, One Young World, UN Women, and World Vision. This common ground enables Meghan to slot into a readily made role within the Royal Family, and establishes her in agreement with one of its core brand values.
Then decide on your battles
When Meghan was eleven years old, she wrote a letter to Proctor and Gamble to complain about the sexism of one of their adverts, but it’s unlikely that today’s Meghan will be able to so directly take down a company or individual now that she’s a royal. She knew that merging into one of the most successful brands of this country means sacrifices, and she’s cleverly picked her battles: removing her social media accounts, and closing her personal blog ‘The Tig’ early in April 2017.
None of these are mentioned on the Royal Family web page, and it’s clear that Meghan chose wisely not to stick her heels on the ground.
At the end of the day, be proud
Harry fell in love with a person, and he certainly has no desire to stamp out all the individuality that Meghan brings to their marriage, and his family. The astonishing quote appears in a pop out on the web page:
“I am proud to be a woman and a feminist.”
Unashamedly, unabashed, Meghan is clearly proud of her self-identification, and has refused to let that disappear into the medley of voices that is the Royal Family: and this may end up being the defining value that Meghan brings to their brand in the long term.
But let’s not forget that Harry is the rebellious royal: the one who seems to get on the wrong side of the paparazzi, the one whose dressing up choices have been…interesting to say the least! It’s unsurprising that of all the royals, it is Harry who has chosen to marry someone who stands for progress.
Taking two very distinct brands and merging them together is never easy. Compromises are always made. But taking the best from both and merging them into something that both audiences can get behind? That’s a real art.
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