If there were an award for most successful brand of all time, my money would be on Henry VII and his Tudor Rose.
Henry VII understood, as much as any modern brand and marketing agency, that image, profile and prestige is everything. His Tudor Rose, created from two existing emblems; the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York, is instantly recognisable over 500 years after its conception.
Surely it helped that Henry was a king and that in his time (reigned 1485 - 1509) that meant, as God's chosen ruler, what he said went! But, that in itself doesn't explain the sheer sticking power that the Tudor Rose has enjoyed. Its use in architecture, books, illustrations and logos, has made it instantly recognisable. Indeed, it felt like a natural choice when I set up British History Tours for it speaks immediately of the history and heritage of this island.
Why did Henry need to create a new emblem?
Henry Tudor knew he had to address critics who questioned his right to rule and his claim to the throne of England. His methods for creating and communicating his lineage were varied, ingenious and relentless. For instance, he made sure his heir was born at Winchester Castle, site of Arthur's round table and this son was named Arthur to further cement this link to the legendary (although widely believed at the time) King Arthur. After the unexpected death of Arthur, 17 years later, heraldry was again used to adorn his chantry with a clear message to all who viewed this spectacular resting place - this was the rightful heir to the English throne!
The Tudor family joined the houses of York and Lancaster together. Henry's claim may have been weak but after decades of civil war he was the best claimant to the throne left on the Lancastrian side. His marriage to Elizabeth of York, brokered before he set foot at Milford Haven on 7th August 1485 and ahead of his victory over Richard III (of the House of York), joined the houses in a new dynasty, the Tudor dynasty.
The Tudor dynasty was fairly short lived compared to others, being only 118 years in total, but can surely claim the most recognisable brand in British History, the Tudor Rose.
The Tudor family is generally not as well understood as people think, for instance do you know where Lady Jane Grey fits into this? For a fantastic, easy to read, Tudor Dynasty factsheet for only £3.50, click here.