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If the #queueforthequeen was a brand

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin lay in State at Westminster Hall for five days from 14 September to 19 September. The queue that formed to view her lying in State grew beyond expectations and took on a life of its own.
If the #queueforthequeen was a brand

For perspective for the Queen Mother’s Lying in State in 2002, 200,000 people filed passed. Estimates for the number of people that paid their respects in Westminster Hall ranged from 400,000 to 1 million.We spoke to the Queue on its unexpected popularity.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I started where Albert Embankment (on the south side of the River Thames) meets Lambeth Bridge in Central London. From here, i wound along the south bank of the Thames. It was reported the waiting time to be with me was 30 hours.

At my longest, the wait time was more than 24 hours. My maximum length was 10 miles - with 6.9 miles from Westminster to Southwark, and a three-mile zigzag queue in Southwark Park. On Friday, 16 September, when I reached capacity and was 5 miles in length, I was closed for a while before opening later.

Why do you think you were so popular?

If I were a brand I would say it was because I was purpose-led. People joined me because they knew my purpose. In addition while many brands know what drives a transaction, I understood what few brands understand - the importance of relationships. I had a relationship with the people who joined me; I represented their community. And I did this authentically.

Having a sense of purpose gives brands not only social or/and environmental impact but also bottom-line results. If I were a brand my bottom-line results would have been enviable.

You formed some strong partnerships as you grew? Tell us more about that.

I attribute my success to the strong partnerships that I was able to form over the days I existed. No brand can be successful on its own these days. The partnership between brand and agency or partners is key to success.

I collaborated with the City of London. We partnered to creatively solve problems, such as providing more than 500 portable toilets at various points along the route.I am an example of a deep integration between medium and client and agency.

Other partners also jumped onto the bandwagon with local venues and museums - including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, BFI Southbank and Shakespeare's Globe - staying open for extended hours and in some cases for 24 hours, for people to use their facilities.

When you became really long and the waiting time extended how did you handle that so that people did not desert you?

Together with my partners I ensured that communication was open and timeously. The UK government’s website warned anyone wishing to see the Queen Lying in State should prepare to queue for many hours, possibly overnight, and should expect to stand for much of that time. And that there would be delays on public transport and road closures.

Together with my partners we told anyone wishing to join should – after ensuring that entry to the queue hasn't been paused – make their way to the back, where they will be given a wristband which recorded what time they joined the line. I did stress that they should not lose their wristband – as we checked it multiple times along my route. It allows you to leave the queue for short periods to use the toilet or get water or refreshments, rejoining me where you left.

The organisers warned when I would be closed so that people did not join me as they would not reach Westminster Hall in time on governemnt social meida accounts.

what role did technology play in your success?

Technology proved to be a significant partner in my success. Along my route, there are first aid stations, public bathrooms and water stations. This was published on a full map of the myself, with facilities marked, on gov.uk. I also got my own queue tracker that people could follow on YouTube and Twitter and Facebook.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Bizcommunity.com. Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.

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