With change, comes opportunity
What are the opportunities for positioning UK brands after we leave the European Union, in break up Britain?
What do we need to do to take advantage of the new relationship with the EU?
What benefits do we have and how should businesses and brands develop strategies to position themselves to export post Brexit?
One British characteristic at which we are truly world class, is a blend of self-doubt and anxiety over whether we are liked by other nations. But despite wanting to escape from the EU, Britain has some well-known attributes around the globe. They are typically, more clearly understood by others than by us when in fact, perceptions of the UK are much more positive than we think.
How is the UK seen by others?
When Visit Britain conducted research to identify – from a batch of attributes – how the UK is seen, one word was chosen more than any other. It typifies our own negative perspective that never, in a million years, would we choose this word to describe ourselves.
The word is ‘Exotic’. What on earth do they mean. Well, the UK and especially London, has become genuinely multicultural. It has also become, for better or for worse, a magnet for overseas investment. And unlike many European nations, who have more of a sense of what it means to be French, German, Swiss or Italian for example, we are more of a collection of contradictions and contrasts.
What lies at the heart of the UK brand is, above all, a tension. It’s a contrast of new and old, creativity and tradition, convention and invention, rule Britannia and cool Britannia.
Brands that can successfully tap into these values have the advantage of a wealth of associations from which to benefit.
What should be considered when thinking about when developing brands for an EU market?
1. National character
In positioning UK brands for overseas markets its important to ensure that the personality comes across. The personality and tone of voice help to position brands in the mind of the consumer. Take the James Bond catalogue, this British stereotype remains strong and consistent over decades. The whole franchise is packaged with a collection of familiar, nationalistic tropes and is amongst the most successful movie franchises of all time.
2. There’s nothing wrong with clichés
It’s easy to get more sophisticated or complex than is readily understood. Clichés are often the most effective route and the most quickly assimilated.
Standards of farm welfare and respect for the environment are likely to improve rather than decline. In the UK they have in any case been high over the years and I can see little advantage in driving a reduction in quality. Environmental considerations in the widest sense will be driven forward and will become a major part of all product requirements. The push is most likely to come from industry and government, rather than the public who have tended to be less committed than the issue will demand.
4. Brand everything
France and Italy are especially good at branding otherwise undifferentiated produce. Wrap a product, like brandy, in a premium envelope and a relatively small town called Cognac becomes a multi-billion Euro producer of spirits.
5. Maximise new heritage
Having said that we are known for our combination of the old and the new, there are plenty of innovation opportunities in the modernisation of heritage brands and categories. A striking example is the explosion of crafts gins and the burgeoning English production of whisky.
If you are interested in developing your brand for the EU market, please get in touch to discuss further firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also like to read our latest Richer Brands Report