Market orientation suggests that you should base your marketing on what the client wants. In basic terms, put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
There are plenty of studies that back this up, beginning roughly when the 1970s became the 1980s.
So if the British people are going through a cost-of-living crisis, then it would pay to have a slimmed-down coronation.
I know the media keep saying that yesterday’s coronation of HM the King was, and even Penny Mordaunt, MP dressed up as an ad for Poundland, but it’s just not backed up by the numbers.
I’ve read estimates from £100 million to £250 million. HM Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation cost, adjusted for inflation, roughly £50 million.
The UK might have still had rationing in 1953, but there was such a deference to the monarchy back then that the government of the day may well have decreed that the £1½ million (as it then was) was worth spending. I realize that there are more people now, and security has to be tighter and more comprehensive against new threats.
However, with the monarchy less popular today and people struggling through terrible inflation, you’d think that keeping a lid on things would make sense.
I get that there’s tradition involved and I am actually a huge fan of history. And when I studied the systems of law under Prof Sir Geoffrey Palmer, I saw the value in a constitutional monarchy.
But any historical or monarchist sentiment aside, from a strict marketing point-of-view, claiming one thing that people want to hear, then doing the opposite, isn’t adopting a market orientation.
I thought back to HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who had an inauguration ceremony as the formal event in 2013. There is a crown and it’s nearby, but he didn’t have to wear it. And he got it all done, via the Dutch taxpayer, for €5 million.
A Dutch friend worked out that even broken down per capita, they got the better deal.
British royalists would argue, rightly, that the Dutch ceremony does not have the grandeur. That there are British traditions that must be upheld, and some date back to 1066.
But must they? When the people face such difficulty, could the service have been simplified? Or could some of it have come from royal finances? Because over on the Continent we’ve seen what a genuine, slimmed-down ceremony looks like. And HM the King is no stranger to this, opting for a very casual affair for his second marriage. He looked happier that day in 2005 than he did yesterday.
I’m sure the last thing the royal family wants is for the whole thing to go belly-up. Their relatives in Russia had been through it. And in other republics.
Being perceived as out of touch places the monarchy in jeopardy, and spending up large is out of touch—never mind the coronation show with Lionel Richie and Katy Perry that’s probably going to be rather good.
What the British people want is to know their king is on their side, such as when HM George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth stayed in London during World War II. I think many would have forgiven them if they headed to the US. But they stayed with their subjects and Princess Elizabeth served. They were there for the dark times and no wonder there was so much affection for them.
The formula actually isn’t very difficult, so it is surprising all the wrong notes are being hit.
We watched a British documentary on Friday night where a bunch of toffs were rubbishing Diana, Princess of Wales’s memory. It all rang hollow, part of a PR hit-job. And if the current Prince of Wales stands for it, then I am bitterly disappointed. It’s his beloved mother they’re trashing.
Meanwhile, there’s Prince Harry taking on the Murdoch Press and its ilk, literally trying to save British democracy, facing the ire of the establishment. Some might dislike him, but he’s still in touch with the real world, and trying to do the good fight from without. As a member of “the market”, I’m finding accord with his mission.
And it’s not costing the British taxpayer a penny.