And so the great week of celebrations is over. How does the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee measure as a public relations exercise?
Here are my thoughts, very much from an outsider’s perspective.
I’m using the six tenets of corporate communications as a framework.
The financial objective: let’s assume this was to consolidate the legitimacy of the House of Windsor in British culture, politics and society. There had to be a business objective, an organizational objective. There was the option of a different approach to marking the anniversary, and there was the option of a lower-key commemoration. The decision was clearly made to inject the commemoration as far as possible into British society. as such, this objective was therefore met.
Communications move too quickly to control, work out how to let go: not that relevant in the context of the Diamond Jubilee. British Royal events might well be unique in the degree of control that is in place. I’m not aware of any leaks on social media. And in that the general public and media organizations were always going to share experiences in real-time through social media channels, and that the events were created with this firmly understood, objective met.
Be clear, concise, cogent, often: the clear message that came through at all levels was one of service by the Queen to the country and the Commonwealth. At every opportunity, this was the message and the sentiment that was communicated, in media commentary, in documentaries, in formal speeches by members of the Royal Family, even in prayers. And this clarity of message, hooked to the financial/business/corporate objective noted above, created a powerful raison d’être for the entire Diamond Jubilee, and a context for everything that took place. Objective met.
Everyone can be your ambassador and advocate: clearly hugely successful. One can only imagine the cascade communications that was taking place in the UK over the last week. It was also clear that both spontaneous and formal programmes were established and communicated to support the Diamond Jubilee, from inviting representatives from those organizations supported by the Queen to the lunches held in the City of London after the memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral, to street parties.
Create value, help people find it: this is more difficult to assess and analyse. Any individual always had the option of turning off the television and not reading newspapers. The value was therefore defined more in the minds of each individual. Those in favour of the monarchy as an institution would have had their personal values reinforced, as would those who like the Queen as an individual. Generational differences seemed less obvious. and those who are staunch republicans would probably never be turned by the Diamond Jubilee events, and I doubt that was ever an objective. In that details of events were readily accessible, the Jubilee met the test of providing information that people might seek, through various channels.
Communication is about emotion and facts: an objective clearly met. The messages about service to country and Commonwealth, and the documentaries about the 60 years of the Queen’s reign, were supported with an emotional element that undoubtedly fostered pride and affection for the Queen as an individual and the monarchy as a constitutional and historical institution.
These thoughts of mine ignore considerations about value for money (was there ever any option that money would be spent?), return on investment (impossible to measure objectively), increased sales (an irrelevant concept), or even more quantitative measurements on how messages were communicated (something perhaps for a graduate research project).
Perhaps more than any other recent event, the Queens’s Diamond Jubilee was a ‘pure’ public relations event, one that saw an organization foster relationships with accomplishment and aplomb.