As we have observed over the past few years, Spain has become so wounded and damaged, plagued by financial and industrial crisis, 25 per cent unemployment, protest after repeated protest both domestically and in various Spanish enclaves; the once vibrant country who had revelled in over 10 years of economic growth until the global financial car crash now only emits a very negative beat.
With little or no evidence of government action except a begging bowl, no evident plan and no real prospect of change the recent appointment of new crown prince Felipe VI places the role of constitutional monarchy under enormous scrutiny and begs a question of its reason to exist at all.
Constitutional monarchy is the real world equivalent of an untouchable CEO or company president with the power to overshadow or perpetuate any doom or gloom, boom or bust, scandal, crisis, celebration or law breaking exercise without any real expectancy of recrimination or backlash; year after year, decade after decade.
So damaged is the Spanish royal brand, so alienated from the daily lives of the common struggling man, how can this beacon of elitism truly and practically build its equity as an idea worth having and celebrating when at its core being the ruler of an independent state prescribes the sweetest dose of irony in that the people cannot apply their own free will.
With a consultant hat on the time is now for the Royal Spanish brand to start anchoring itself down with a set of principles and promises behind which it can build and regroup – in order to protect their company assets [palaces, cars, gold, diamonds, immunity] their brand story is the one thing that might just put them back on track.
Our own British brand of Wills ‘n’ Kate, Queeny, Funny Phil and Organic Charlie stretching to sub-brands in sporty Zara shows a serious consideration has been made in the Royal portfolio – they recognise they are a company, a business and structure themselves accordingly – they have moved beyond the gold sash and gilded carriages – for they are a bit like you and I, wear jeans, drink beer and have little babies, are vulnerable and committed.
But, as the pressure mounts from the common people and as Spain emits a code red on the global financial dashboards there is a real threat of a referendum – republic versus monarchy? While fearful of sounding like a conspiracy theory nut, our own brand of very British [ahem] Royals have nailed it, like Marmite you can love it or hate them but their global equity is riding high.
Craig Wills is the executive strategy director of strategic branding consultancy The Gild, www.the-gild.com