October 6, 2016
Two ways that Brexit will change business messaging
Whichever way you voted on June 23rd, the result will affect your business messaging. In at least two ways.
First, we are heading into an economic downturn. When the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, tells the party faithful that the future will be “turbulent” and “daunting” he is probably not exaggerating. Yes, he mentions fiscal stimulus, via investment in UK infrastructure. But 2017 still looks like being a tough year.
So, if you are in business, you will need to project downturn-style marketing messages. You’ll need to project value, flexibility, speed, responsiveness and a service offer that speaks to the concerns of clients cutting their cloth to suit a tougher climate. What this means will vary by sector and by individual business. But there will be a need to adjust messaging. And the sooner the better.
Secondly, for those of us with international clients, there are subtle cultural issues to reconsider. Business is not all about transactions and delivery. It is also about trust and relationships:
In my own work, I interact frequently with clients from Holland, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Spain and Italy. I’ve already noticed subtly altered cultural signals. As a Brit, I’ve always had to demonstrate that I “get” Mainland Europeans. But I suspect that, in the future, I’ll have to work that little bit harder to distance myself from the idea that the UK is inhabited by Island Folk who are inward-looking, self-referential and – worse – complacent about the expertise they have gained, working with UK clients.
Put simply: in a post Brexit world, we’ll all need to work harder to sound European, and to communicate that we can deliver effectively across borders. This is true at a macro level (and is a major Government challenge). But, it is also true at the micro-level. We are all outsiders now. And we will all have to work harder to prove that we can work effectively with those on the inside.