What Brexit means for brands

There’s still lots of uncertainty about Brexit and what it will mean for UK business. What we do know is that it will affect British brands. There’s no doubt that legislation changes, new trade regulations, and the fluctuating pound will all have an impact. So what’s the best way to adapt? Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Companies up and down the country are looking at their existing business models and adapting them so they’re ready for the changes. And it’s not all doom and gloom.

From a branding perspective, Brexit may not be all bad. Marketers and brand specialists are perfectly placed to find creative ways to tackle new challenges and capitalise on the opportunities that will appear in terms of new markets.

In our experience, we’ve seen strong brands not only survive economic and political challenges but thrive on them. There are three areas we think are key to securing a bright future for Britain’s brands after Brexit:

Best of British: Creating an international brand

People around the world love British brands. Consumers have a real affinity for Britishness and British values and lots of brands already trade on their British heritage. The ‘Made in Britain’ identity is perfect for US customers who love our “quaintness” (!). But it may be less of a selling point in a post-Brexit Europe.

Whether the rest of Europe welcomes our brands or not after Brexit remains to be seen, so it’ll be important to gauge feelings towards your brand. Europeans may lose trust and stop supporting British business – which could have a big effect on how a new product is received. Brands will need to track shifts in consumer opinion, meaning research and insight will be more critical than ever.

For brands that haven’t traded on their British origins before, now might just be the time to start. Aligning their message with the heritage angle could get them into new markets, like Japan and India, where the British brand is massively popular. Brexit could end up being a great opportunity for strengthening the British brand and showing that Britain is a truly international nation.

A brave new world: Forging new relationships with our European partners

Goods sourced in the EU might be more expensive after Brexit so companies will either have to source them locally or from outside Europe. And that’s not a bad thing either. Using local materials is brilliant for a brand’s sustainability credentials – now might be the time for brands to ask themselves ‘could buying locally be an exciting addition to our brand’s narrative?’ Costs are likely to increase too as a result of increased regulation, which is worth keeping in mind when they plan their NPD processes and looking at expanding into new and existing markets.

We may be leaving the EU but there’s no reason we have to fall out with everyone. Brands may need to re-engage with their European partners but that could mean exciting new innovations and relationships. They’ll need to look at their packaging afresh too to make sure it complies with new regulations. And modify their designs so that they’re flexible enough for the global marketplace.

The future is bright: Building a creative economy for a bright brand future

European tourism might suffer after Brexit if it takes our EU friends a while to forgive us for leaving. But that’s OK. Brands can still prove that we’re a truly global Britain with their marketing and brand development. By having a close relationship with retailers worldwide, brands can reinforce the message around their high-quality Made in Britain products.

We’re also supporting brands to de-mystify the language around Brexit and run creative above- the-line campaigns that speak directly to consumer concerns – strengthening their brands and helping to stabilise the economy at the same time.

There’s no escaping the fact that Brexit will bring some challenges. But it will also bring lots of exciting new opportunities for those brands daring enough to embrace the changes and go with them.

Here at Well & Truly, we bring fresh insights and strategic consultancy to support our clients with their current business challenges and with those challenges yet to come. If you’d like to find out how we can help you, drop us a line or give us a call!

Laura Bent
[email protected]

After 16 years as a Senior Planner and Client Director at award-winning advertising agency Big Communications, Laura set up Well & Truly. Laura has a degree in Psychology and believes that solid brand strategy leads to better creative solutions.

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