With the Queen having recently celebrated her 90th birthday, Wang explored the top five reasons why she helps UK forms prosper.
(1) A united brand
The Queen is undoubtedly the most prominent symbol around the world of Britain’s heritage and tradition, something that UK companies can amplify when marketing goods and services to international markets.
It doesn’t hurt that she is a well-known face that plays a large part in the annual £500m that tourists bring to the UK – her marketability also contributes to the country’s £160bn annual exports.
This was highlighted when Chinese consumers were asked what word they associated with Britain, with 25.1 per cent instantly thinking of the Queen. And when asked what the most important factors influencing their purchase intention of luxuries were, a royal connection was in the top four with 17 per cent alongside excellent quality.
(2) The Royal Warrant
Royal Warrants have been granted since the 15th century and it is this sense of history and tradition that boosts the UK’s marketability. There are around 800 holders of a Royal Warrant, which marks out the goods and services the Queen and her household use. But ultimately it signifies the desirability of the British lifestyle and has come to symbolise quality and excellence.
Those holding the warrant range from individual craftsmen to multinational companies like Kellogg’s and Unilever-owned Hellman’s mayonnaise. In our research of Chinese shoppers, 57 per cent said the Royal Warrant is important in increasing desirability of British lifestyle brands.
The royal endorsement is particularly advantageous for companies exporting to China, the rest of Asia, the Middle East and the US. It was also found that 27 per cent of Chinese shoppers get their inspiration for fashion and home style from the Queen and the royal family.
(3) Not needing to coerce shoppers into buying
Britain primarily stand out in the global market due to it incorporating tradition and innovation seamlessly. Our survey of the Chinese showed that, particularly among the millennials, British fashion is perceived as being “fearless” with a strong individual sense of style.
Put differently, Britain’s advantage lies in its so-called soft power, which is defined as the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion, and the UK’s royal heritage and Queen is a key part of that. After all, a recent ranking called “The Soft Power 30” put the UK as the world leader.
The extent of the Queen’s impact on the country’s soft power is hard to measure, but the way she or the royal family is used in diplomatic relations emphasises the important role they play. Prince William met Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015, the first royal visit to China since the Queen flew there in 1986, and it coincided with the Great Festival of Creativity in Shanghai, put on by UK Trade & Investment, where many British companies were showcasing their products.