Brand Ambassadors

Being the Head of State is a tricky job. Contributor LAURA BROWN compares brand Obama to the QEII, and discovers that governing requires a little bling.

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Celebrity endorsements are the cornerstone of luxury brands. Shoes, soft drinks, cars and electronics sell faster when next to a star. But when sales and marketing professionals around the world were recently asked to cite the single most important marketing asset in the UK the answer was unanimous—the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II is the UK’s best global ambassador. The Monarch’s dramatic entrance during the London Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2012 was watched by almost 1 billion people worldwide, and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations just last year generated £508.94 in retail impact. "The Queen acts as an ideal example for many brands looking for longevity,” says Simon Bassett, Managing Director of EMR. “She maintains traditions but also moves with the times.”

If the British Monarchy generates £500 million in revenue each year by promoting tourism and British businesses, the value proposition of a monarch is ever clear. But what about celebrities? The second most popular choice among marketers was David Beckham. Despite hanging up his boots for good, ‘Brand Beckham’ continues to be one of Britain’s most potent sports marketing forces given a multitude of international sponsorship and endorsement deals currently valued at £30 million annually.

Even celebrity businessmen are throwing their hat in the endorsement ring. Virgin’s ever popular and brand-savvy Richard Branson came in 3rd due to generating endorsement and licensing deals with Virgin America and a whopping 4M Facebook Likes. But while Branson expands his brand across the pond, many Americans can’t seem to find their level in the polls.

US President Barack Obama has been slipping in popularity due to policy initiatives like Immigration and Obama care. And with an approval rating of 46% it appears that Obama trails even fictional US President Frank Underwood (House of Cards) with 57% and Fitzgerald Grant (Scandal) with 60%. Even Jed Bartlett (West Wing) held steady at 82% for 9 seasons. But when compared to real competition, Obama does still comes out on top. George W. Bush had an approval rating of just 34% at this same point in his second term.

UK counterpart David Cameron fared worst in the UK brand ambassador poll with less than 1% of the vote. Bassett continues. "Despite his career in communications before Westminster, Cameron scored lowest in the poll. While marketing and branding are essential in politics, the results seem to indicate that ‘Brand Cameron’ has some way to go to improve his image before the next election. Politics is a difficult game, and it’s difficult to manage the brand of an entire country from one particular party. Despite which side of the pond you’re on.

While politicians’ come and go, a monarch stays put. Keeping her head above the fray and remaining impartial has done much to stave off a coup of two, sustain a 1000-year old monarchy, and to ensure that with a whopping 63 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest serving monarch in British history. Not your typical celebrity, ‘Brand Madge’ understands that a great brand is a story that’s never completely told.

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