Communications lessons from the Royal Baby

How wonderful that the Royal Family welcomed another member to its increasingly growing brood this week. Congratulations to Harry and Megan on the birth of the very cute Archie (who doesn’t love a baby).

Having worked in communications and PR for many years, I have always been fascinated by the handling of major announcements, and in particular some of the traditions of the Royal Family. It is certainly true that Megan has given the Royals a reason to think differently in not being a ‘typical’ Royal bride, however, this week saw a series of ‘communications basics’ go completely wrong.

So, what happened?

Let’s start with the facts. Megan gave birth to baby Archie at 05:26 on Monday 6th May. At 14:00 that day, media outlets were emailed to inform them that Megan was in labour. At 13:45, Sky News broke the story that Megan had in fact given birth, information which didn’t reach other news outlets until a further 7 minutes later – missing critical lunchtime bulletins.

OK, so we all make mistakes. A career in PR, especially for the Royals is not for the faint-hearted, but this entire experience coupled with a huge website error is not something you want on your ‘communications professional’ CV. So what can we learn from this?

  • Hire the right person – Harry and Megan hired Sarah Latham, Hillary Clintons former campaign advisor. While I am sure Ms Latham has excellent experience and credentials, are these credentials and experience fit for the monarchy? Having someone who understands the nuances of your business is critical (and let’s not discuss the ducking out of the way in the photo shoot).
  • Set an objective – rumour has it that error on the communications was blamed on a ‘technical glitch’ at Windsor Castle – hmm. Add this to rumours that the timing of the announcement coincided with our friends in the USA waking up, it’s understandable the cynic in us all might appear. So, what was the real objective of Harry and Megan’s announcement? Are they really looking to do things differently, or are they taking advice on something that might not be advisable (such as prioritising the US press)? A clear objective of your communications is critical and can prevent errors occurring.
  • Check, check and check again – along with the issue on communications timings, Harry and Megan’s official website also displayed a corker of an error, describing the baby as the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – eek. Even the most seasoned professionals in copywriting have made mistakes under pressure. One way to avoid this is to have a colleague scan a pair of eyes over your work before publishing (I am sending this blog to my friend Vicki as we speak).

If you need help with getting your business communications right, drop me a line and I’ll try my best not to drop you in it.