It’s been a week since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially stepped down as senior members of the British royal family. They announced that their website and Instagram account will be inactive as they will no longer use “royal” as part of their name. And they said they would be taking some time to reflect, regroup, strategise. Duana and I talked about this on the last episode of Show Your Work – taking a break is never a bad thing, disappearing for a while and coming back READY, is part of good work.
So we heard from them yesterday. Because The Telegraph tracked down the trademark applications that House Sussex has filed for their future philanthropic endeavours: Archewell. In response, Harry and Meghan issued a statement. Per PEOPLE:
“Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic, but faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be. Before SussexRoyal came the idea of ‘arche’ — the Greek word meaning ‘source of action,’ ” the couple continued. “We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters. Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon. We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right.”
Yes, it’s probably annoying to them that The Telegraph was able to dig up that paperwork and tell people about their rebrand before they could do it themselves. That said, The Telegraph was doing its work within legal limits – it’s their job to investigate using the resources available to them. That paperwork is public record and they got the scoop. It was only a matter of time.
The question is…
Do you respond? If I were one of Harry and Meghan’s team of advisors, I would have counseled against responding. Eventually they’ll have to get used to not responding. They live in LA now. Everybody is curious about them. There’s a new rumour every day. When you make the decision to go underground for a while, it’s best to commit to the decision to go underground. The golden example of this, as always, is Her Majesty Beyoncé. When Beyoncé decides that we won’t be hearing from her, we do not hear from her.
From a strategy standpoint, the way I see this situation with the Sussexes, of course it would have been an irritant that The Telegraph got to reveal their name. But if they don’t engage and add their voice to it, the story goes away a lot quicker, and then they can sit on it for the next few months and drop the announcement along with the logo and whatever else they have planned. It’s not like anyone’s going to be any less excited, you know? When they have new social media accounts to accompany the release and, perhaps, new photos and maybe by then, the restrictions will have lifted and they might even make an appearance… who the f-ck will care at that point what The Telegraph reported all those months ago?
This might be what the Sussexes have to work on during this time with their team: not feeling “compelled” to react on these kinds of stories. And this is also what I’ve been saying about their team at Sunshine Sachs, a traditional Hollywood media firm. Not sure they have the kind of imagination that matches the Sussexes’ potential. Harry and Meghan are currently the most intriguing couple on the planet – and that intrigue is a major asset. Let them be intriguing. Encourage them to be intriguing. Do we seriously have to put out an iPhone Notes statement every single time?