Cashing In on Happily Ever After

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At the risk of scaring every intellectual mind away from this blog, please allow me to take the next three and a half minutes of your time to talk about the Royal Wedding. For those who’ve had enough, Paula Ebben of WBZ-TV had a great suggestion—you can click here—and exit now.

For the rest of you, bear with me for another 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

The Royal Wedding has caused an uprising of sorts. Upwards of half a million people are traveling to London for the occasion while another 1 to 2 Billion people are expected watch the nuptials on TV or online. Americans are expected to represent the largest percentage of international travelers to the UK, far above the expectation for other Europeans, even the close neighboring French. How can we explain the surge, when headlines at home are focused on the increasing cost of gas prices and in turn, record airline prices?

In marketing and PR, we always talk about two important steps in reaching customers or clients: 1) create awareness and 2) inspire them to action. Awareness is the easy part—through advertising, you can tell people who you are, what you do and where to find you. It’s the second part that’s more difficult, because it involves human nature. As individuals, we’re all motivated by different things—out of needs and desires, to make us happy, fill our bellies and put money in our pockets. What’s interesting about the Royal Wedding is the amount of people that have chosen to participate in the occasion out of—love? It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

With the exception of Valentine’s Day, it’s not often that we see people move to action in droves for love. Even in times of destruction and tragedy, people want to help—we see this through the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. But that’s not the same. There is no natural disaster unfolding at the Royal Wedding. It’s simply a couple, one of which was born into a royal family, getting married. Take “royal” out of the equation, and this is an event that happens every day all over this country—or 350 per day if you’re in Vegas.

So what’s my point? My point is that, as marketers, we have to remind ourselves that near the base of human needs is love. The wedding isn’t about Princess Diana or her son, the charming Prince William. It’s not about “commoner” Kate Middleton. This story is a modern-day fairy tale and how that resonates with each of us and our basic need for love. Maybe, the Royal Wedding is exactly the respite America needs amidst the constant barrage of political debates, murder trials and overseas military strategy.  It’s Disney, in the form of reality TV.

Billions of people can’t be wrong. Take it as a lesson learned and the next time you’re brainstorming how to reach customers, ask yourself, can we move them out of love? You may find yourself a new way of approaching potential customers, and eventually getting them to say “I do.”

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