This article, like so many others, may be riding on the Royal Wedding coat -tails (please excuse the pun) but as well-wishers around the world gather to watch the footage on their (multiple) devices, I can’t help but think that as a brand, the Royal family are utilising social media and online video better than most.
On July 29, 1981 the marriage between Prince Charles and Diana attracted 750m viewers, according to the BBC. Friday’s event is expected to draw two billion.
In addition to watching the marriage on traditional TV, the official Facebook page of the British monarchy also contains access to the official YouTube channel, which will stream live coverage, as well as portals including MSN.
The video will remain on the site after the event and fans can leave video messages via the YouTube channel. On the day real-time news will also be broadcast via the Clarence House Twitter account (@ClarenceHouse) and following the wedding, pictures of the big day will be made available via a devoted Flickr gallery.
For an institution that is led by a monarch of 85-years-old, they have certainly ticked all the boxes for modern brand engagement.
Across the pond, President Obama recently launched his re-election campaign via online video asking his supporters “Are You In?” Four years ago when he won the presidency his campaign was held up as one of the best uses of social media. Now it seems our very own monarchy has taken the best of multichannel marketing to showcase the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Of course there’s always room for improvement.
While branded YouTube channels are popular and successful you have to remember that over 35 hours of video is uploaded per minute onto the channel; that’s a lot of video content to fight through to be heard.
And while comments can be left on the Royal Facebook page, are the social media gurus hired by the monarchy prepared to engage with each individual fan? Two-way dialogue is an integral part of the marketing mix and while we know the Queen herself cannot reply to all the messages, we as consumers do expect a certain level of engagement.
A study by TNS Research International claims that three-quarters of people prefer an online experience that can be personalised to them to create a genuine relationship with that brand.
Brands including Doritos who launched a campaign by asking Facebook fans to create videos to feature during the Super Bowl, or the recent BT wedding between Jane and Adam that allowed viewers to choose details of the ceremony, each created a personalised and interactive viewing experience. Even retail brands that utilise online video and calls to action, such as click-to-buy technology, see significant increase in sales. M&S saw the number of ‘buy’ clicks in 2010 increase to 162% higher than in 2009.
It can be easily claimed that the Royal family has become over the past few weeks one of the biggest brands around the world. News stories indexed by Bing on the Royal Wedding now total around 7m per day and videos tagged on YouTube now total around 460,000 every day. In the US the attention is even greater with tweets about the wedding making up 40% of English language tweets.
When the video is streamed on Friday the brand will reach an even larger audience across whichever device you choose to watch it on. I look forward to watching the celebrations but am keen to see how the Royal brand will use this wedding to further increase their engagement and presence. There will always be interest in the monarchy so why not utilise this now to build a dedicated online platform and maintain that engagement?