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The Experience Brands Weekly #158

Royal Warrants: Influencer marketing for 2017 or an outdated tradition?

The Royal Warrant is a symbol of quality that proves either the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales have been buying your product for 5 years. The long history of the royal warrants is arguably the first use by a brand of an endorsement to promote their products – the first influencer marketing. It screams Britishness, but should brands be celebrating it?

Some certainly think so – Unilever recently acquired even more royal warrants for Marmite and others, they argue that the warrant “has the advantage of boosting the export market where brands bearing the Royal Warrant are highly valued in the Far East, USA, China and the Commonwealth”. It seems the export market is where the Royal Warrant has the most value for British brands today, where the royal brand is moving from strength to strength.

However, when it comes to customers closer to home, the value of the Royal Warrant is less clear. When 230 adults were surveyed, 70% said that the Royal Warrant was not likely to influence their purchase of a product. Though 83% thought the warrants suggested quality, 42% were indifferent to them, 45% thought they were not important or not at all important – only 13% thought they had any importance. So, while valuable abroad, the warrants seem less relevant to UK consumers, and not really influencing their purchasing behaviour.

The British identity conferred by the royal warrants is something that some brands choose to celebrate. As we argued in this blog, celebrating British is not enough to convert shoppers by itself – you still need other complementary reasons to believe to convince shoppers they should choose you. Underpinning this with your British-made credentials and this will help you to win post-Brexit, but by itself, British is not enough.

Recent research suggests that going local might be a better way forward. Nearly three quarters of people surveyed by Trinity Mirror feel that it’s their local community that defines who they are – suggesting that brands should potentially be looking at connecting with communities at a city, town or even village level to really connect. 60% feel that brands should be doing more to show commitment to local areas, but many are also sceptical of brands getting involved so brands need to be careful to get involved in the right way. By focussing on local nuances and with real craft, Rachel Forde argues this is the way forward.

So, Royal Warrants are perhaps not as influential as they used to be, but they do still convey quality and are valuable particularly in export markets. When it comes to British consumers, leading with the royal endorsement and focussing on the brand’s British credentials will probably not be enough by itself to convert shoppers. Instead, focusing on local may be the way forward.


Other Bites:

Schweppes: Alchemy Bar 

Fancy a G&T? For London Cocktail Week, Schweppes have launched a pop up bar in Covent Garden, where you can experiment with flavours, learn to create bubbles and gin. There is also a secret room where they are showcasing their new tonic, 1783.



Ikea: Ultimate House Party 

To celebrate their 30th birthday, Ikea are throwing the ‘ultimate house party’. Running for a week from 18th October in a townhouse in Soho, you can "party like it’s 1999, 1989, 2009, 2019 and 2049".



Mastercard and Swarovski: VR 

Mastercard and Swarovski have paired up to create a new VR shopping app. In the app, you can enter a unique shopping environment, walking through five areas of a virtual home to browse the new Atelier Swarovski home décor line. Learning about the stories behind each piece, you can then see descriptions, prices and pay in the app by using the new Masterpass technology that allows you to purchase in the VR experience simply by focussing your gaze on a particular button.