The Royal Mail has an amazing heritage. Its origins can be traced to 1635 when Charles I opened up his “royal mail” for usage by the general public. Oliver Cromwell was responsible for establishing the General Post Office in 1657 and Charles II allowed it to distribute the “royal mail” shortly after the restoration in the early 1660’s.
Few brands can claim anything like such a rich legacy.
However, for any brand to think that it is invulnerable to competition, especially in today’s incredibly fast moving commercial environment, is insane.
In any free market, a brand is only as strong as its relationship with its customers. Remember the way in which Gerald Ratner effectively killed off the Ratner’s jewellery brand overnight by describing some of the products they sold as “total crap”? The comments wiped £500m from the value of the company and the Ratner name was subsequently removed.
Arthur Andersen, Lehmann’s, Woolworth’s, C&A… the list of dodo brands is not a short one.
Having been good strikers in the past, employees of the Royal Mail might think that resisting change and protecting current practices is likely to do little damage and probably force at least some concessions. Maybe in the past. Not anymore.
There used to be very little option to the Royal Mail. This is no longer so. Businesses like Amazon and John Lewis are already exploring other carriers; businesses are rushing to replace cheques with online bank transfers and even I am already browsing e-cards for Christmas!
Living in the past may kill the brand. As Bob Dylan would advise postal workers “you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times, they are a changin”.
James Bond is a wonderful example of a brand that has continually re-invented itself to move with the times – witness the increase in the stakes, pace and technology in reaction to the success of the Bourne series of movies.
The Royal Mail is still in a great position from which to build. Provided it can inspire its workforce to unite behind a dynamic, modern, technological vision within which personal values play an integral part, it can rise phoenix like from the ashes in which it is quickly getting buried.
But it better be quick, my e-cards are getting closer!