A lesson from Fortnum and Mason

Did you see the press coverage of the Queen, and the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge visiting Fortnum and Mason’s on March 1st? You can’t buy publicity like that but with a bit of planning and creativity you can increase your chance of getting it.

The spotlight will be on Britain in general, and London in particular, this year as we celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics and Paralympics. This creates enormous opportunities for businesses to gain media coverage as the Press will be looking for good news stories linked to these events. Fortnum’s have shown us the way, so what can we learn from them?


The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge visit Fortnum and Mason to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Image by Getty Images via @daylife

To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Fortnum’s have renamed their restaurant ‘The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon’ and will be sending a commemorative tin of tea and biscuits to soldiers serving abroad over the Jubilee weekend. The store invited the Queen and the Duchesses for a tour of the store and to tea with service personnel during which they were shown the commemorative tins and a number of other products. The TV and newspapers were then full of the story.

Fortnum’s made a very clear link between their products and services and the Diamond Jubilee so all the publicity increases the public’s awareness of their offer. What could you do with your products and services to celebrate the Jubilee? For example:

  • a catering company might host a Diamond Jubilee party for elderly people living alone,
  • a cleaning company might decide to clean up a local eyesore,
  • a decorating company might donate their services to refurbish a community centre,
  • a photographer might put on a special exhibition of images reflecting the 60 years of the Queen’s reign,
  • a pet care company might walk a corgi for free for 60 days!

Of course there’s no point in doing something if people don’t hear about it so make sure to send out press releases, share the news with your customers and prospects, post details and photos on social media and publicise your efforts at networking events. You might not be able to get the Queen or a member of the Royal Family to attend your event (although there is no harm in trying!) but you could invite your local mayor, MP or a celebrity.

Photos of suits presenting cheques are boring so try to find an idea that is newsworthy and photogenic to stand a much better chance of media coverage. The Jubilee weekend is only three months away so it is time to start planning. I’m off to think about what the Training Pack is going to do but if you want some help get in touch here.

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