As the UK prepares for economic recovery from Covid and makes the best of Brexit, it is striking that there has been no talk of investing in the national brand. A post-Brexit “global Britain” will need more than rhetoric – and something more sophisticated than the nine-year-old GREAT Britain promotional campaign – to sell its products and services, develop new strategic alliances, retain its soft power, and make the nation an attractive destination.
UK governments have tended not to engage in serious branding activities. They have preferred to focus on slogans and logo-heavy campaigns that draw heavily on marketing tools such as advertising (the regular VisitBritain tourism campaigns), PR (Tony Blair’s so-called “Cool Britannia” party in the 1990s), and exhibitions (Food is GREAT at China’s 2020 International Import Expo).
At such a key moment for the country, to not attempt to build an all-encompassing national brand would be a major missed opportunity. Ending free movement of labour with the EU means having to work much harder to attract talent and investment. The extra costs and bureaucracy around exports means having to work harder to make British products competitive. Projecting a positive brand image both inside the UK and to the world will make these things easier.
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