The Coronation: A Masterclass in Event Production

The British royal family is one of the most well-known and highly publicised institutions in the world – from weddings and births to state visits and official ceremonies, their events draw global attention and media coverage.   

On 6th May, Charles III and Camilla will be crowned King and Queen (or Queen Consort) of the United Kingdom. Such a complex event requires meticulous planning, attention to detail, and a team of experts who can bring a vision to life. After all, it’s a historic event that must be executed flawlessly, with no room for error.  

There are some valuable lessons about event marketing that we can glean from occasions of such scale and prestige. So, join me and discover how we can take inspiration from the Coronation when planning and promoting the most complex and impressive events.  

A Brief Overview of the Coronation

This once in a lifetime event involves thousands of people, complex logistics, and highly valuable regalia that needs protecting. Invitations were sent to 2,000 individuals which were meticulously designed by heraldic artist and manuscript illuminator, Andrew Jamieson.  

On the 6th of May, Charles and Camilla will complete the precession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, escorted by cavalry as thousands of onlookers line the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pair.   

Next, the ceremony will take place, in which 12 new and specially commissioned pieces of music will be performed. It will also be broadcast internationally.  

Aside from the ceremony itself, a whole weekend’s worth of events are set to take place, including the Coronation Concert on Sunday the 7th at Windsor Castle.  

All the above is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to arranging a royal event. There’s also the liaison with the media, as well as various police forces to get sufficient officers in the area to watch over the crowds, and much more – all in all, a monumental effort.  

What Can the Coronation Teach Marketers About Event Planning?

The planning process behind any large-scale event can be a daunting task, especially when its as iconic as a coronation. The production team responsible for bringing this event to life must work tirelessly to ensure that every detail is perfect.  

Attention to Detail

Planning a coronation requires great attention to detail, and this meticulous approach should apply to any event if you want to ensure the best experience for attendees, and that everything runs smoothly. So, make sure that every aspect of the event, from the venue to the decor to the catering, is carefully planned and executed. 

Capturing the Vision of the Event

It’s vital to have a thorough understanding what the event needs to achieve and the business’ overall vision of what attendees will experience. The production team must therefore work closely with key decision makers to identify their goals, objectives, requirements, and expectations. As well as brainstorming with these stakeholders, extra research may be necessary.   

Once the vision is established, the team can begin to develop a plan to turn it into a reality while taking into account any logistical or budgetary constraints. 

Contingency Planning

Contingency planning is critical in event production as it helps organisers to reduce the impact of unforeseen circumstances that may affect the event’s success. An obvious example is adverse weather which can cause significant problems for any outdoor event (and indoor events if transport is affected).  

Therefore, event planners must closely monitor the weather forecast and make adjustments to the plans as needed, such as moving it to an indoor venue. The weather is not the only reason to have alternative locations in mind – in case of cancellations or other unexpected situations, it’s important to have a plan B. 

Apart from adverse weather, other things to plan for include: 

  • Power outages: Plans should be in place for power outages such as backup generators, especially at large events. 
  • Medical emergencies: While the ambulance service may be on standby for the coronation, smaller-scale events should at least have personnel on-site that are trained in first aid, as well as medical equipment for emergencies. Certain venues will be required to supply such equipment so this may be part of the selection criteria when choosing a location.   
  • Security issues: Security measures such as crowd control, CCTV, metal detectors, and trained security personnel are necessary for some larger events.  
  • Transportation: Have a plan in place for alternative transportation in case of traffic jams or accidents. 
  • Technical difficulties: Have technical support on hand to resolve any technical issues with sound systems, lighting, or any other essential equipment.  

Staying On-Brand

The British royal family is one of the most recognisable ‘brands’ in the world, their image synonymous with tradition and elegance.   

One of the key lessons we can learn from them is the importance of consistency. Their image has remained relatively unchanged for centuries and they have a clear visual identity, with the royal coat of arms and the image of Queen Elizabeth being instantly recognisable.  

What does this mean for event production? Not only should marketing materials follow the brand guidelines, but so should the décor at the event, the messaging put forth during, and so on.  

Audience Engagement

Royal events are designed to engage a wide range of audiences, from dignitaries to the general public. Marketers can apply this same approach to their own events, creating experiences that appeal to a diverse range of attendees and incorporating elements that encourage audience engagement, such as interactive displays, social media integration, or live entertainment. 

Events are a great way for businesses to create a sense of community and loyalty among their audience. Royal events have the same effect – whether it’s a wedding or commemorative ceremony, these events bring people together and foster a sense of loyalty to the royal family.  

In addition, the royal family invokes a sense of tradition and heritage, which has built a sense of legacy and importance around them. Similarly, marketers can communicate their company’s values during the event – verbally and non-verbally – in a way that resonates with the audience’s own values, strengthening their relationship with them.

What Can the Coronation Teach Marketers About Event Marketing?

News such as that of the coronation sweeps the globe in an instant. While we don’t all have the resources to make that happen for our businesses, we can still take inspiration from the PR behind these prestigious events.  

The Power of Exclusivity

The royal family is perhaps the pinnacle of exclusivity. The public gets a limited view of what goes on in their lives and at the coronation, may see the King passing in the carriage, while 2000 notable figures will actually see the ceremony in person. This elusive sense of mystery may be one reason that royal events are some of the most highly anticipated in the world. 

This is a good reminder of the appeal of exclusivity in marketing and copywriting. Remind potential attendees that a limited number of seats are available and use the idea of scarcity in other relevant ways.  

If your event is related to high-end products or services, creating an atmosphere of exclusivity during the event itself will help attendees feel like they’re part of an elite community, which will reinforce their loyalty.

Finally, brands can create a sense of exclusivity and luxury around their events by partnering with other high-end brands and sponsors.

The Power of Storytelling

Royal events often tell a powerful story about the history and culture of a nation. Whether it’s through the use of historical artifacts or the retelling of stories from the past, the sense of legacy and heritage they portray is undeniable. 

Marketers can apply this approach by using storytelling to create a compelling narrative around their events, origins, and vision (and how any events align with their vision).

Using Traditional Media for Event Marketing

News of the royal family’s engagements spreads rapidly through the use of traditional media such as TV and print. While most businesses only rely on digital channels to promote events, there are some situations where marketing through traditional media is beneficial. For example:  

  • Local events: If the event is targeted towards a local audience, traditional media such as local newspapers and community magazines can be an effective way to reach people in the area.  
  • Niche events: For events that appeal to a specific audience or niche market, print publications that cater to that audience can be an effective means of promotion.  
  • High-end events: For events targeting a high-end audience, advertising in luxury lifestyle magazines or other high-end publications can be effective in conveying the exclusive and upscale nature of the event. 
  • Events with older target demographics: This segment may be more likely to consume traditional media, making it a good way to reach them.  
  • Large events with long lead times: If the event is months away and there is a healthy marketing budget, traditional media may help create anticipation and greater awareness.

Lead Generation for Event Marketing

There are numerous touchpoints for attendees on the lead up to an event and on follow-up. Understanding the ins and outs of their journey clarifies all the marketing opportunities involved. It also highlights the opportunities to improve their experience, which will also help to boost the attendance rate, and engagement rates after the event. 

It’s important to log all leads in your CRM system or customer data platform. This will help you to manage your interactions with leads and personalise marketing materials for the highest conversion rates. If the information gathered relates to their preferences and interests, it may also help with planning or adjusting what the event will involve.

Finally, after the event, this data will help you to understand which marketing materials have been most effective so you can improve and innovate when it’s time to promote the next event.

For more about lead generation, consult my digital marketing book where I discuss it at length.

Wrapping Up

The Coronation of Charles III and Camilla is a rare, complex, large-scale event that involves thousands of people and requires meticulous planning and execution. From music composition to arrangements with police forces, an unimaginable amount of work has gone into planning and promoting the event. 

With that in mind, the Coronation makes an excellent case study for marketers – and pulling off the production of such an event makes anything else look like child’s play in comparison.

The key points to remember about event planning – as inspired by the upcoming royal event – include attention to detail, understanding and capturing the vision of the event, contingency planning, staying on-brand during the event, and engaging the different segments that will be attending.  

As for event marketing, remember the power of exclusivity and storytelling, and consider whether traditional media is suitable.

Looking for a marketing consultant to help with your strategy? Feel free to get in contact – my team and I would be delighted to assist. 

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