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Brand-led change at Historic Royal Palaces

Brand led change at Historic Royal Palaces
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Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after five great royal palaces in London, here, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, and the Banqueting House in Whitehall. We get no money from government, and we have two fundamental roles, to look after these great national cultural assets, and to help people enjoy them and learn from them and their stores. I’m the chief executive. I’m accountable to a board of trustees, and we have about 750 staff working throughout the organisation. When I came here 10 years ago, one of the things that struck me was the incredible commitment that all our people had to their work.
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But another factor was that they were all committed to different ideas of what the organisation was. And that lack of direction was not helping us. By working on our cause, by resolving the debates around it, and by finally fixing on something, it enabled everybody to get behind a single idea and to orientate all of their work to it. The cause sets, very simply, our purpose and what we are here to do. It says Historic Royal Palaces helps everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society in some of the greatest palaces ever built. It’s a simple challenge to us, but one that defines and drives everything that we do. We’ve seen the impact in so many ways.
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We are financially much more successful. We achieve so much more because all our people are working together to a single direction rather than different ones. We have a clear sense of what our future looks like, of what we are here to do and how we assess what’s important. We’ve also seen it in lots of evidential ways as well. We’ve had increasing visitor numbers, recognition professionally, and awards and prizes for our conservation work and our interpretation work. We have had much greater publicity. Our fundraising is more successful. We have a membership scheme now, which has nearly 70,000 members. So lots and lots of different ways. And this year, particularly, we are seeing record visitor numbers.
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Over 4 million people will visit our palaces this year.
Here’s Michael Day, chief executive of an organisation called Historic Royal Palaces, which runs (among other things) the Tower of London. Michael talks about his organisation’s brand idea, which he calls its ‘cause’. As you watch, think about these questions:
  • how is HRP funded? and how does its brand help it make more money?
  • why does Michael say ‘cause’ rather than ‘brand’?
  • what would you say is the most important word in the ‘cause’ statement?
(Michael has now moved on from HRP.)

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