By Royal Appointment - the use of the Royal Warrant

From our kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets to our cars, clocks and clothes, everyday we make use of products and services deemed excellent. The Drum explores how important the Royal Warrant is as a seal of approval for British products.

Look a little closer next time you pour your cereal, put oil in your car, pull on your boots or get pissed, and you may well find the Royal Warrant adorning the product in your hand. From Weetabix and Castrol to Hunter wellies and Strongbow cider, there are no fewer than 800 Royal Warrant Holders across a huge crosssection of trades and industries.Granted by Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, the Royal Warrant recognises individuals or companies who have supplied goods or services to the royal household for at least five years. But what do brands make of this seal of approval? Does it hold the kudos it once did and is it worth making a song and dance about? And does it really make any difference to consumers?It has been estimated by Brand Finance that getting the nod from the royal family is worth some £4bn to the 800 or so companies who currently hold a Royal Warrant, with it adding higher demand and prices to companies such as Fortnum and Masons and Berry Brothers. Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh explained in the Brand Finance Journal Jubilee Edition: “The Monarchy is a powerful endorsement for individual and company brands and for the nation brand and we believe that it is making a significant contribution to the task of driving Britain out of the recession.”The benefits of the warrant can be small to some holders, as Brand Finance brand valuation consultant Robert Haigh notes, highlighting “Boots the chemist, DHL, Heinz and Ford” as Royal Warrant holders who “do not frequently advertise the fact”.“On the other hand,” he says, “for brands that trade on values or activities associated with the monarchy, the added value can be very significant.” Haigh explained that research indicated some companies earn up to five per cent of their revenue as a result of the Royal Warrant.Despite this obvious potential benefit, some brands have opted to remove the Royal Warrant from their packaging altogether, with boxes of After Eight and Jacob’s cream cracker range now both devoid of the exclusive emblem.This change reflects current sentiment among consumers according to research carried out by brand design agency Coley Porter Bell which found that the general public attached very little value to warrants.In a survey of 230 adults, Coley Porter Bell found that while 42 per cent of respondents are indifferent, thinking that royal warrants are neither important nor unimportant, 45 per cent think they are not important or not at all important. And only 13 per cent say they are important or very important.The overwhelming majority of those asked (70 per cent) said a Royal Warrant was not likely to influence their purchase of a product.The research found high levels of general awareness of warrants (87 per cent) although perhaps more surprising was that 13 per cent of respondents claimed they were not aware of Royal Warrants.Of those aware of warrants nearly all, 95 per cent, knew of the Queen’s warrant, 74 per cent were aware of Prince Charles warrant, but only 41 per cent said they knew of The Duke Of Edinburgh’s warrant. Only 20 per cent of those asked knew exactly why warrants are granted. Strictly speaking they simply mean that the royals and their households use the product. Sixty-three per cent thought they were an endorsement.The good news for the royals and the royal brand is that while consumers say Royal Warrants don’t influence them, they still have associations of high quality. 83 per cent agreed that warrants suggest quality, 67 per cent said they make a product feel special. Only 24 per cent think they are a waste of time and just over a third (36 per cent) think they are old fashioned and out of date.

Paul Wheeler, head of external communications, Kellogg’s

“We’ve held the Royal Warrant for a long time – since the reign of the current Queen’s father in fact. I think it means a sign of quality to many people – the idea that if the royal household is eating it, it must be good.The Royal Warrant appears on all our packs of cereal sold in the UK, on the side panel of our packets. Our UK factories make cereal for all over the world so our Royal Warrant packs do also end up on supermarket shelves all over the world too. While the Royal Warrant does feature on our packs, it’s not something we actively promote through advertising. We like to think of it as a mark of quality which people can see on our packs rather than as a marketing tool to help sell more food.”

Emily Maben, head of marketing, Penhaligon’s

“We are extremely proud to hold Royal Warrants from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. These are both longstanding warrants and are very important to us! So yes, I would say that they are still highly prized as a mark of quality and heritage. Having Royal Warrants communicates quality and craftsmanship to our customers and of course shows that the royal family are using our products, which is a wonderful honour.Our Royal Warrants feature prominently on all of our products and within marketing materials too – it’s particularly important as we enter new global markets. Our Royal Warrants really benefit our expansion into new markets, as they are seen as a sign of the very highest quality and of course, our royal family are increasingly popular overseas!”

Nick Morgan, head of whisky outreach, Diageo

“We are particularly proud of the Royal Warrants we hold for companies such as John Walker & Sons and Tanqueray Gordon Limited. It is an honour to provide a service to the Royal Household of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; but more than that these warrants are a part of our brands’ rich history, having been awarded to both companies in the early part of the last century. Our Warrant Holding brands all carry the Queen’s Warrant of Appointment on their packaging, according to the guidelines of the Lord Chamberlain. They are recognised throughout the world as hallmarks of the pedigree of our brands, and are of particular importance to us in many of our growing export markets, where there is a particular interest in, and affection for, the British monarchy. “

Nigel Dickie, director of corporate and government affairs, Heinz

“At Heinz, we are extremely proud that a number of our varieties display the Royal Warrant. Not only is it an honour but also reinforces our reputation for being one of Britain’s most-loved brands. We believe the Royal Warrant is one of many contributing factors as to why 95 per cent of consumers buy at least one Heinz product a year. Recently, we released limited edition vintage labels for the Heinz Beanz and Heinz Spaghetti cans in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This is especially significant as Heinz was awarded the Royal Warrant in 1952, the year of The Queen’s coronation. By capitalising on the historical dates and highlighting our ‘Britishness’ through the use of the Royal Warrant, these cans have proved extremely popular with customers. As a result, sales driven by both products have positively impacted our bottom line during a time when brands are competing for attention in the run-up to the jubilee.”

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