Businesses set to cash in on royal seal of approval
As royalists eagerly await the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton's baby, Britain's businesses have jumped on the royal bandwagon, making the most of an opportunity to show off their products in the Queen's back yard.
The four day Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, which started on Thursday, features over 200 businesses that have been granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment, which is similar to a knighthood - but for a company.
Diageo, Bentley and GlaxsoSmithKline are among the big name holders of the Royal Warrant present at the event.
The honor is conferred upon companies that have supplied goods or services for at least five years to the royal households.
"It makes a statement about that business," Richard Peck, secretary of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, told CNBC. "It is the best way of verifying that a company is a good one. It is not necessarily the best company, but it is the company the royal household prefers to use."
This royal seal of approval plays a big part in a business' success, particularly in the export market because of the warrant's international reputation, according to Peck.
"In the Far East, they realize that if this company is supplying the royal household, they have to be good, because the royal household demands a higher standard," he said.
"If you look at somewhere like China that is used to dynasties, they understand immediately what a monarchy stands for and they understand the symbolism of it and the importance of it," he added.
This year's Coronation Festival marks the first time that companies are allowed to use their warrant to explicitly win business, as there are strict rules about advertising and marketing surrounding the royal award.
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Trade delegations from around the world are attending the event, and U.K. businesses are especially keen to do deals with policy makers and investors from the so-called Bric countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – according to Parveen Thornhill, regional director for UK Trade and Investment.
Bric countries are "high growth markets" with an "appetitive for British products," Thornhill told CNBC. "There is a growing middle class in those markets and an appetite for products we have here which are associated with quality and excellence in design."
The aim of the event is to promote British business abroad, and facilitate potential export deals with new markets, giving a much needed boost to the U.K. economy.
There are around 800 companies with a Royal Warrant, which can be granted by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales. Holders may display the Royal Arms with the words "By Appointment" on their products.
John Ross Jnr, a smoked salmon specialist which exports to 36 countries, said the Royal Warrant has played a "huge role" in its growth.
"We estimate that having the Royal Warrant has increased our export market by 30 -35 percent and will continue to play a major factor as we expand throughout China, Japan and South East Asia," said Andrew Leigh, John Ross Jr's founding chairman.
Leigh added that the royal seal of approval had helped "penetrate new markets", particularly within the Commonwealth, and had brought "prestige and exclusivity" to the brand.
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