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Queen Elizabeth I’s lessons on branding

Have you ever thought of monarchy as a type of business? It most definitely required leadership and excellent management skills, not only in terms of human resources but also in finance. Negotiation, planning, problem solving and networking were monarchs’ daily bread. How about branding? Let’s see what Queen Elizabeth I can tell us about it.

I recently watched the video of artist Mat Collishaw, who created a 3d model of Queen Elizabeth’s face and a robotic mask of her face, which gives the operator an opportunity to manipulate her facial expressions: “The Mask of Youth”. The material inspired me to think about how the queen built her brand and business as the queen of England, and what an amazing and powerful woman she was.

Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I Tudor as a princess

Queen Elizabeth I was the last monarch of the Tudor family. Since she perished without offspring, she was called The Virgin Queen. As she was growing old and her beauty was fading, her portraits remained the same, as if trying to show the people of England that they do not need to worry about the lacking heir to the throne. Art historians of the last several decades have described the notion visible in her depictions as “the mask of youth”. Her appearance reinforced her brand as a queen, and she was ready to invest in it. She is said to have owned over three thousand gowns and constantly placed orders for new shoes. She did not avoid precious stones and loved to fill her wardrobe with all colors, but was especially fond of black and white, symbolizing her lifelong purity. However, it is debatable whether or not she actually remained a virgin – rumor has it, she had multiple lovers. She ruled England for 44 years and died at the age of 69.

Collishaw’s take on the royal portrait

Queen Elizabeth I Tudor, Armada portrait
Queen Elizabeth I Tudor, Armada portrait

Collishaw scanned the stone effigy of Queen Elizabeth and transferred the acquired data into a 3D editing program, in order to further edit it based on written historical material that he researched, and adjusted it according to his analysis of various portraits of the queen. Collishaw created a three-dimensional face on an exposed robotic arm which moves, smiles and has very human-like expressions.

I personally believe this artwork is a very successful contemporary heir to Elizabeth’s collection of portraits since it does not attempt to depict her. It is rather a tribute to her masks, stripped of the abundance of dressy gowns, gems, and expensive headwear. With the robotic arm behind, “The Mask of Youth” says: “I am what I want you to believe about me”.

My takeaway

Queen Elizabeth I Tudor

During the process, the artist realized that the queen’s face represented her brand as the queen of England and Ireland. Her physical appearance, beauty and health condition represented the condition of the United Kingdom. Her look reflected her conscious creation of herself as a successful queen.

There are multiple levels of conclusions I drew from Elizabeth’s story:

  1. Your physical appearance is your creation, which sends a message.
  2. You are in charge of your physical appearance, and the message you are sending.
  3. Your appearance is your personal brand. You can make it stronger by being intentional about the way you look.

Using your appearance as your personal brand does not mean being superficial. It is all about externalizing who you are or who you would like to become on the inside. Being more put together is all about being intentional and mindful about your appearance, and having a sense of self-agency.

Sources:

[1] https://www.bbc.com/reel/playlist/hidden-histories?vpid=p06npby7
[2] https://matcollishaw.com/works/the-mask-of-youth/
[3] https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/03/01/queen-elizabeth-i/

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21 Comments

  • Michael

    Man, I suddenly looked to my own since I really don’t care about my outer appreance that much. Well, kind of learned a bit reading this post so thanks.

    • Woman Restated

      Me too! I feel like it’s a lot of work but on the other hand it’s a very powerful tool in how we see ourselves as well as how others see us!

  • Emily Fata

    I absolutely LOVE this article! Being obsessed with history (particularly the lines of English and French royalty) as well as a marketer myself, this was a super interesting read. I couldn’t agree more: Elizabeth had a brand and until the day that she died, people could only publish things that adhered to that image she worked her entire life to create and emulate.

    • Woman Restated

      Thank you Emily, what a great comment!

  • Celebrate Woman Today

    I absolutely LOVED reading your post!
    It rings truth within me, and I cannot agree more that we are in charge of building our personal brand and who we are without being superficial.
    Thiis a unique approach you took on personal branding!

    • Woman Restated

      Another reason to celebrate woman today! :)))

  • Kuntala Banerjee

    That was a nice read. Queen Elizabeth’s royalty and brand amazes me. It is a real learning. We need to put in positive efforts when it comes to marketing.

    • Woman Restated

      thank you! she really had it all thought through! amazing woman and monarch!

  • Sushmita

    Your physical appearance is what you make it. If you want to brand yourself as a strong-headed woman, you need to carry yourself like that. Very rightly said.

    • Woman Restated

      So true! It didn’t come naturally to me, I’m glad I found out about it 🙂

  • Laura

    It was so interesting psot and I think its so important to take care of yourself and be repersetable. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Laura
    https://pinkfrenzymissl.blogspot.com/

  • tweenselmom

    Queen Elizabeth is the epitome of glam. The way she carried herself carried her name for generations.

    • Woman Restated

      Truth! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Lyosha

    that is so interesting! i love history but your give it a living moment an interesting angle to look from

    • Woman Restated

      thank you! I always try to draw a life lesson from something that stops me to think for a bit and I decided to share it:)

  • Lasonia

    This is a really great article. We could all learn from Queen Elizabeth. We should always think about how we appear in public.

    • Woman Restated

      Thank you Lasonia! I agree!

  • Geraline Batarra

    Nice post..! It was nice to know more about Queen Elizabeth not just because she’s famous for being the queen but also because she’s a very good example for all the strong powerful or glamorous women.

    • Woman Restated

      I completely agree! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Elizabeth O

    I have always been a fan of royalties and their history. I admire their fashion preferences when it comes to their jewelries and their crowns.

    • Woman Restated

      I realized I definitely don’t know enough and I’m curious to learn – so I was excited to learn about Elizabeth I!

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