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Opinion and Insight
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Brands Should Play a Pivotal Role in Building Post-Brexit Society

J. Walter Thompson London, 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Research from JWT finds that Europe’s view of what constitutes the 'Essence of Britain' is very different to our own

Brands Should Play a Pivotal Role in Building Post-Brexit Society

British people are becoming less negative about the outcome of the EU Referendum. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, JWT research showed that just 24% of respondents thought it would have a positive impact on their lives while the agency’s new research shows that number has grown to 38%.

However, it also shows that 50% of Brits would vote remain if the vote was taken again – with 37% saying they would vote leave and 13% saying they were “unsure” of which way they would vote pointing at continued confusion around what the result means for the country. 

Called 'The Essence of Britain Tracker' the research, which surveyed 700+ people in UK, France, Germany, Italy and Poland, showed that every one of these countries would also vote to remain in the EU if they were given the vote tomorrow. 


The tracker also showed that 56% of British people said that their confidence in British Politicians had decreased while 15% said that their confidence in brands had increased. This is largely replicated across all 5 European markets. 

The Essence of Britain tracker also shows that: 

• 40% of British consumers want brands to keep them informed about how they are helping Britain to trade globally.

• 33% want brands to keep them informed of how they are helping keep Britain Connected with Europe. 

• 45% also said they feel brands need to communicating positive British Values across Europe.

There was also a desire for brands to practice responsible capitalism with: 

• 37 wanting brands to invest in local recruitment/hire more local employees.

• 27% wanting brands to invest in more UK charities.

• 25% wanting them to contribute more to local communities.

• Focus on providing consumers with advice rather than just selling products.

James Whitehead, the Co-Chief Executive of J. Walter Thompson London, said: “This is a huge opportunity for brands who, untainted by the political fall-out, now have an exceptionally important role in giving consumers top-to-bottom help and guidance in the months to come in a post-Brexit Britain.  

“They have the potential not only to transparently and intelligently inform consumers about business, trading and manufacturing both here and in Europe, but can also be the ones to recalibrate this disparity in the Essence of Britain between ourselves and Europe, while also helping them with what is important to them on their doorstep and at a local level.”

  

The research also highlighted a huge disparity in what we view to be the Essence of Britain compared to what the rest of Europe thinks. 

When asked which attributes best capture the Essence of Britain respondents in the UK picked phrases such as “Traditional”, “Proud”, “Multi-Cultured” and “Open Minded”. 

However, with the other nations (with the exception of Poland who generally agreed with the British) the UK scored very low on many of these positive attributes with “Tolerant” coming in at France (14%), Germany (8%) and Italy (10%), “Cultured”  Fr 1 5%, Ger 21% and It 17% and “Open Minded” Fr 11%, Ger 14% and It 25%. 

Fair, safe and relevant were also very low scoring while Nationalist came out very high with 31% of French people, 30% of Germans 30% and 39% of Italians saying it was a British trait with only 10% of British people agreeing. 


The research shows that people across the continent also think we will become less multicultural and that these “isolated” and “nationalist” attributes will continue to grow. 

Toby Hoare, the Chief Executive of J. Walter Thompson European, said: “This is very important for British brands or those as seen to have a strong British heritage to realise if they are thinking about trading in Europe or expanding their businesses. This perception of us as a nation is now the reality that these brands are operating in. People view us very differently to how we view ourselves and they have to adapt their strategies to match this.”





Methodology: The Essence of Britain Tracker was put into field between 29 July and 1 August across UK, Germany, France, Italy and Poland surveying 700+ people 18+ representative in each market by age, gender and region.