January 2020 has launched a new decade full of unexpected twists and turns having a rippling impact on the global stage. If the impeachment trials in Washington were not enough to send the world reeling, January 9th launched days of royal turmoil with the Instagram announcement on Sussex Royal from Prince Harry and Meghan that they would like to find a financial and otherwise independent life from the thousand year old British monarchy. BREXIT even took a back seat from UK global politics while the details got ironed out between Jan. 9th - Jan 18th with the revelation that they will relinquish their HRH titles,forgo most public funding, and no longer be working royals, all with the blessing of the Queen.
What I found most interesting was the remaining question about their foundation "Sussex Royal" as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were up till now the new flavor of British royalty. As a power royal couple, their foundation heralded new possibilities and endeavors along with the traditional aims of "Serving the Monarchy" and "Strengthening the Commonwealth" and had been carefully cultivated since 2018 with an official launch in a matter of weeks. What does happen now???
It turns out Branding, even for top royalty, is key in today's manic world to stand out and make a statement. As the Daily Beast noted in an article on Jan. 19th "...giving up 'Sussex Royal,' if that is what they will ultimately be forced to do, will represent an enormous blow. Harry and Meghan have painstakingly developed the brand over the past few years, creating an Instagram page with 10 million followers, building websites that used the name, and trademarking the name for hundreds of products last year."This equation becomes even more complex as Harry and Meghan's brand power has undeniably changed over the past 10 days from "oppressed royalty" to free agents of hope. While some media acknowledged sadness and a feeling of anger among its followers, I am happy to note there were also many IG followers offering words of praise, consolation and hope for their new family. I particularly loved this IG post, which shows that Queen's Elizabeth's brand power has also risen in the world after giving her blessing for their new life: "You and the Duke deserve the privacy and freedom from harassment. I’m glad that the Queen is supporting your decision".
Being a passionate advocate for the power of positioning a brand, the happenings of 2020 only stand to remind me that brand power and what you stand for are ever important even in 2020.