Every business challenge can be re-cast as an opportunity. A week on from waking up to the referendum result, let’s move brands past panic and plan for how to find opportunity.
Amid all the gloom over consumer spending and marketing budgets we have seen senior figures try to keep our chins up and experts call for momentum behind a positive Brand Britain.
Proactive steps will be key to avoiding the risk that your “open for business” message gets lost in the lack of consumer confidence – not positioning positively leaves space for people to think you won’t be there for them when the going gets tough.
But what is the opportunity for brands in all this? Here are two for you – one each for your internal and your external brand.
Several international business leaders have been swift to go public in their support of their British workforces. Focus seems, generally, to have been on reassurances that they remain committed to their British operations.
Now is a fantastic opportunity to do more than this, both to improve employee engagement with your brand and to promote it externally.
Productivity and your bottom line benefit from employees feeling they work in an inclusive workplace.
We’ve also all seen the growth in companies leveraging their employer brands in campaigns to consumers. Halifax and B&Q have long been doing this in the UK. More recent and dynamic examples include this funny series from GE and this heart-warming effort from UPS.
Well, there’s double opportunity here. Rightly or wrongly, the referendum result and subsequent events have promoted feelings quite the opposite of inclusivity. In my own company even staff who are British citizens have been distressed –though I’m British even I feel I do not belong (even in London!).
So, now is your time to ride to the rescue with a diversity and inclusion drive. Take a stance that not only says but practically demonstrates that you are for everyone. This can
- Allay staff distress and distraction in the short term, boosting morale, productivity and team relationships
- Build the bedrock of brilliant employee engagement for the coming years of uncertainty
- Provide external brand leveraging opportunities to show you’re open to everyone, caring, diverse, dynamic and much more
You are brand Britain
What it means to be British is completely up for grabs. You can steal a march on everyone else by finding creative ways to position your brand as the “new Britain.”
No overt political statements are required. However, it’s more than just bland “open for business” messages. We all know that. But if you’re not demonstrably for a dynamic, open, inclusive British market why would we have confidence you will keep being able to supply our now-irreversibly international consumption habits?
This isn’t going to be solved by taking on the semiotics of the British flag. Even ignoring any possible negative connotations, at best what it means is exactly what’s up for grabs.
It starts with your vision and purpose. From there you have to align with what we might want from the future of Britain. Not only do you promote feelings of positivity (never a bad thing, even better right now) but you can also shape perceptions around your vision, rather than wait to follow the crowd.
Executions can then focus on ways to subtly build and reinforce the message that you are that future. With the uncertainty around available budgets, it hardly hurts to make sure your marketing spend is doing all the work for you that it can.