Pioneering Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Founder of Reach Personal Branding

William Arruda

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Katherine Duchess of Cambridge: fitting a personal brand into a national brand


Screenshots of official Royal websites: Prince of Wales, Royal Wedding, Facebook, YouTube

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”, a quote from St Catherine of Siena, whose day it is today.

These were the opening words from the Bishop of London in his address to the congregation after William and Katherine’s marriage ceremony, which couldn’t be a more appropriate mantra for today’s Royal couple.

As I write this, the Royal wedding party is safely back in Buckingham Palace "doing the photos", prior to the much anticipated appearance on the balcony. Mounted police have sedately escorted hundreds of thousands of people down the Mall to the front of the Palace, BBC commentators are marking time with light-hearted commentary and the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster Bomber of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, along with some modern jets, are positioning themselves for the flyover ...

I wrote those impressions as I sat glued to the TV, brimming with patriotic pride. Our future King's wedding was conducted with a wonderful blend of tradition and modern sensibility which proves that our small island is still worthy of its title "Great".

Whatever people think about Royalty, I believe that its traditions, going back hundreds of years, give us a sense of continuity and stability that helps to counteract the upheavals of political change and global turbulence.

At the heart of the tradition is the Abbey which has seen all but two coronations for hundreds of years. Key members of the wedding party were chauffered to the Abbey in sedate Rolls Royces and Jaguars through the crowd-lined streets. With traditional pomp and pageantry, for the return journey to the Palace the bridal party were in ornate carriages, accompanied by 200 horses and soldiers of the Household Cavalry. Their exceptional horsemanship and beautiful uniforms are a wonderful spectacle, set against the backdrop of London's most imposing architecture.

But there was a notable restraint: the Abbey decorated with stunningly simple seasonal greenery ...tubs of trees and elegant floral arrangements in shades of white, cream and chartreuse; unprecedented sensible minibus transport for most of the members of the royal wedding party; an informal buffet reception with a relatively modest cake and, as a final treat, William driving his bride from the reception in his father's classic Aston Martin, with an L plate on the front grill and a JU5T WED plate on the rear. They could have been any normal couple having a lark at the start of their married life.

Inevitably people will be making comparisons between Katherine and Princess Diana. Indeed, how do you follow in the footsteps of "The Queen of Hearts"? Well, Katherine has firmly established herself in my heart as the "Queen of Exquisite Taste".

Wedding fashion houses around the world will be grateful for the manageable proportions and lack of bling as they copy Katherine's dress to satisfy popular demand. It was absolutely spot on. A simple veil, perfect silhouette, gorgeous lace bodice and sleeves, a pretty sweetheart neckline, just the right amount of detailing. The width of the skirt and length of train were large enough to hold their own in the vastness of the Abbey, yet not too oversized. Her hair was partly worn up, the rest curling down her back and the modest tiara was borrowed from the Queen.

Katherine's good taste extended to the flowers ...her modest bouquet, the bridesmaid's little head-dresses and the men's buttonholes based on lily of the valley (expect to see that cropping up in gardens and pattern designs everywhere!). 

The bridesmaids and the ladies in the family party were also dressed in perfectly simple dresses, mostly in off-white pastel shades. The bride's mother was exquisitely elegant and Camilla looked stunning.

William and Katherine have shown the world that restraint and good taste are worth a million dollars. I am absolutely delighted ...I hope Kate has a huge influence on designers in all disciplines. Less is definitely more. There are a lot of celebrities who could take a leaf out of their book.

Prince William will continue in his job in the RAF air sea search and rescue team, based in Anglesey. It is quite clear that William and Katherine will be a very modern Royal couple and their wedding, while it had to follow tradition, has set the tone for a more realistic approach to Royal life and it will be very interesting to see how their personal brands continue to influence the way the Royal family are perceived.

We can all take inspiration from the way the couple embraced social media to connect with their audience in the run up to the wedding.

Further reading: What You Can Learn from The Royal Wedding’s {#rw2011} Use of Social Media sbryant.me

One of the best collections of photos I've found: #RoyalWedding: From sunrise to sunset - CNN.com http://bit.ly/kwZA78 #rw2011

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More Stories By William Arruda

Dubbed 'The Personal Branding Guru’ by Entrepreneur magazine, William Arruda is a pioneering brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of Reach Personal Branding. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

William delivers keynotes and workshops on the transformative power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies. He energizes and motivates his audiences—and his private clients include some of the world’s most influential leaders. As a thought-leader, William is a sought-after spokesperson on personal branding, social media and leadership. He has appeared on BBC TV, the Discovery Channel and Fox News Live and he’s been featured in countless publications, including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times. William is the coauthor of the bestselling book Career Distinction. He is a member of the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education.