Magazine article Marketing


Magazine article Marketing


Article excerpt

Royal Approval signals quality

Jane Goring, partner, Inter Relations Company, Horsham, West Sussex

So Michelle Lewin concludes that the loss of a royal warrant is unlikely to undermine the brands of tomorrow (Marketing, January 27).

I disagree. The status conferred by a royal warrant is as valuable today as it has ever been. For all those brands which have the honour to carry a royal warrant, it is perceived as a badge of credibility, quality and consistently high standards.

Of course, today's sporting heroes, soap starlets and celebrity chefs may be perceived as 'adding value' to brands via their endorsement. But at what cost? Mega brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, L'Oreal and Marlboro maybe able to justify huge fees to these contemporary idols and perhaps have the power to survive when things go horribly wrong - take Pepsi's ill-fated relationship with Michael Jackson, for example - but small brands and traditional manufacturing companies in the UK cannot possibly compete in this arena.

Thankfully, our society is not solely comprised of kids aspiring to be David Beckham, or women dim enough to buy shampoo because Jennifer Aniston believes she's 'worth it'.

I worked for Harrods in the advertising and marketing department years ago. At that time, it held three royal warrants and they were considered an integral part of the store's image. The loss of Prince Philip's crest will undoubtedly be a source of great regret.

One of my current clients - shoemaker Anello & Davide - is extremely proud to carry a royal warrant. It confers credibility and respectability that is not driven by the whim of the media, or the performance of a 'personality'. It is a priceless asset, one which customers believe in and, most importantly, buy into.

Perception is crucial to net brand-building

Russell Sheffield, managing director, Tableau, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

The leader in your January 6 issue, 'Why perception is now marketing's most important p', reflected our experience very accurately.

Nowhere is perception of greater importance than on the internet. Companies may be in great danger of undermining a brand if they do not consider fully the implications of its web site.

Not only is design important, but another vital issue needs to be addressed-how will the site develop the brand in this most responsive arena? Not just next month, but where will it be next year, and will it be meeting the expectations of its users? This may mean planning for an e-commerce site, or it may simply mean ensuring the pages are updated on a regular basis. All of these reflect very directly on the 'perception' of that brand.

Remember, a web site is for life, not just for Christmas.

Philip's snub will hurt Harrods

Nick Payne, deputy managing director, Bearpark Publishing, London W3

Michelle Lewin seems to have missed the point in her investigation into the value of a royal warrant (Marketing, January 27).

Sure, if you're Nike, it's a safe bet that throwing a few million dollars in the direction of Tiger Woods is a worthwhile investment, and if you're a frying pan manufacturer, you're probably rather chuffed when HRH Delia gives your product the thumbs up - the key issue is the extent to which an endorsement is perceived as meaningful by a product's target audience, even if that happens to be someone other than the trendy young things Ms Lewin seems to obsessively focus on.

If you want to sell financial services to OAPs, pick Frank Bough. If you want to promote your supermarket to middle-aged mums, step forward Prunella Scales. And if you're a store like Harrods, which presents itself as the quintessence of upper-crust Britishness and probably relies on badly-dressed American tourists for half its turnover, the loss of a royal warrant is probably quite a big deal - whatever Mr Fayed might say about it. …

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