At the time of the Queen’s ascension to the throne of Great Britain, one computer still filled a room and colour television remained a recent and startling innovation. As we approach the Diamond Jubilee, the world’s social, technological and media climate has changed almost beyond all recognition.
The speed of online news, and the influence held by social networks would have been almost impossible to predict, yet the Queen and her media teams have done a remarkable job of evolving their communications over the last sixty years.
With many public figures’ online reputation facing increasingly diverse challenges, MHP ran bespoke Online Reputation Audit (ORA) research on the Queen and selected members of the Royal Family to gauge how this age-old institution is perceived after the first decade of the 21st century.
Overall, the news is good for the monarch and her brood. The online reputation of key members of the Royal Family is riding high ahead of the Jubilee celebrations at the start of next month. The Queen is the most popular of those audited, closely followed by Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry.
However, the online reputation of Princess Anne and Prince Charles is substantially weaker, showing that public affection for the royals may have skipped a generation, with Clarence House focusing on building and maintaining the reputations of a new generation of royals in touch with the sways and tastes of modern Britain.
The research shows that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have enjoyed an enduring media ‘bounce’ after the royal wedding and have smoothly transitioned into their role as global celebrities. The ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that existed between Clarence House and the press during William’s youth appears to remain intact, with almost all stories focusing on the pair’s positive public engagements.
Prince Harry’s online reputation has benefited from the substantial recent coverage of his trip to the Caribbean. His ranking was also boosted by a member of pop royalty, Cheryl Cole, declaring her affection for the previously wayward Prince.
Prince Andrew was the only royal to score negatively overall. Contrary to the generally positive coverage of the other royals, online outlets appear to take particular enjoyment in exposing Prince Andrew’s private engagements and friendships with controversial characters.
The results are a clear indicator of how the Google View of an individual, brand or organisation is the real driver of perceived reputation – on and offline. Increasingly it seems there is now no real distinction between the online and offline world.
For individuals or organisations in the public eye, stories and content originating online now drive offline reputation, and vice versa. A negative set of search results will drive editorial perspectives in the print and broadcast media, and content will flow freely between all these outlets.
Positive reputation is no accident, and as the Queen has shown it must be managed and cultivated with the utmost care. The importance of journalist relationships remain key and mutual respect is a key driver of much of the Royal Family’s positive coverage.
The full results of last month’s ORA research, which gauges a number of key factors and takes into account the search engine presence of the subject, before running it through a proprietary algorithm, are below:
Queen Elizabeth: +75 (out of a maximum of 100)
Prince William: +71.5
Kate Middleton: +70
Prince Harry: +67
Princess Diana: +63
Prince Philip: +59
Princess Anne: +54
Prince Charles: +38
Prince Andrew: -21