Jessica Mulroney, perhaps the closest and most loyal of Meghan Markle’s inner circle has posted to Instagram citing racist bullies as behind the criticism of her friend. Sorry, but this is an example of the inner circle clutching at straws.
It’s the Sussexes insistence on a version of privacy in an age of absolute scrutiny, that is their real Achilles heel. The current and ongoing bad press that surrounds them is a crisis entirely of their own making and an example of a highly flawed communications strategy, one that they have failed to think through from beginning to end. As long as it’s still the traditional media impacting opinion and fuelling fires, it’s not a wise move to continue to ignore them. Using Instagram in isolation is perilous if not joined up, as the Sussex camp is finding. It’s naive to continuing believing that they can position their messages alone.
Using this week’s news of private flights as an example, they had clearly prepared for hostile questioning to focus on the cost of their flight rather than the environmental impact, yet still failed to communicate the fact that their flight was carbon neutral. This invited support from climate deniers, not the kind of audience they should be hoping to attract or one that will back down either.
If they want to build a strong platform to support their interests, they must now engage with opinion formers beyond their carefully controlled personal channel and develop authentic and strategic media messaging. There is little sympathy for them, so as long as Harry and Meghan, who are only part-time environmentalists at best, use their carbon neutral defence as a reflex against hostility rather than a genuine commitment to environmental action, the hostility will only build. They would do well to remember it’s not easy to rebuild again from that.
Harry’s mother, Diana, The Princess of Wales, was a real force for change in the Western world. She was both spontaneous and sincere, driven less by corporate ego and spin than a real need to show how much she cared. She was an expert at using the media to explode memes around the world. Where the media was concerned, Diana knew that the Royal Family are damned if they do or damned if they don’t and she knew how to use the influencers to create a narrative that changed minds. Treading a fine line in an attempt to control, is a very short sighted strategy.
It’s not the same world in 2019, but Diana was an example Meghan would do well to study. With an obvious and genuine ambition to create change, the Sussexes need top level media friends on their side now.