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Scrutinising the British Monarchy: The corporate brand that was shaken, stirred and survived

John M.T. Balmer (Brunel University, London, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 May 2009




The principal purposes of this paper are to provide normative advice in terms of managing the British Monarchy as a Corporate Heritage Brand and to reveal the efficacy of examining a brand's history for corporate heritage brands generally.


Taking a case history approach, the paper examines critical events in the Crown's history. It is also informed by the diverse literatures on the British Monarchy and also marshals the identity literatures and the nascent literature relating to corporate brands. Six critical incidents that have shaped the monarchy over the last millennium provide the principal data source.


In scrutinising key events from the institution's historiography it was found that the management and maintenance of the Crown as a corporate brand entail concern with issues relating to: continuity (maintaining heritage and symbolism); visibility (having a meaningful and prominent public profile); strategy (anticipating and enacting change); sensitivity (rapid response to crises); respectability (retaining public favour); and empathy (acknowledging that brand ownership resides with the public). Taking an integrationist perspective, the efficacy of adopting a corporate marketing approach/philosophy is also highlighted.

Practical implications

A framework for managing Corporate Heritage is outlined and is called “Chronicling the Corporate Brand”. In addition to Bagehot's dictum that the British Monarch had a constitutional obligation to encourage, advise and warn the government of the day, the author concludes that the Sovereign has a critical societal role and must be dutiful, devoted and dedicated to Her (His) subjects.


This is one of the first papers to examine the British Monarchy through a corporate branding lens. It confirms that the Crown is analogous to a corporate brand and, therefore, ought to be managed as such.



Balmer, J.M.T. (2009), "Scrutinising the British Monarchy: The corporate brand that was shaken, stirred and survived", Management Decision, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 639-675.



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