Questions (for you)

Brand Britain – what does it mean?


What is Brand Britain? In fact, is there even an overarching brand in either the domestic or international markets? As a UK resident and marketer, I’m confused…

Perhaps being confused is my own failing – and it could be true that I’m too close to Brand Britain to see it. After all, as a British resident, I’m caught up in the day to day goings on: the political machinations, the stabbings, the social inequalities, the history, the media, the music, the dirty streets and the regeneration projects.

It could be a case of being unable to see the wood for the trees. However, ‘What is Brand Britain’ isn’t a new question – it was raised in the Times back in 2005, picked up with the BPRI Group in 2007 and has been the subject of many a round-table since. Visit Britain’s take on our brand is also particularly interesting, especially as they’re doing so much of the pre-2012 promotional work.

However, I’m genuinely not sure what Brand Britain looks like. The 2012 Olympics could have been a great opportunity to unify the nation under a single brand umbrella, yet we ended up with something that’s costing a fortune under a logo which a child could have designed (and let’s not forget, the TV executions originally caused epileptic seizures – great planning there). I haven’t felt any brand vision or values seeping down into my daily existence yet – maybe they will in December 2011… In fact, the brand restrictions placed by the LOCOG are so restrictive as to be considered positively hostile – OK I know that they’ve got to protect the brand but having rubbed up against them in the past, it wasn’t a very ‘British’ experience…

Other Brand Britain ‘subsidiaries’ that come to mind are Visit Britain, the CBI, the Government, the Monarchy and so on – ignoring (for the moment) all of the independent city/town/destination brands.

The common thread that I see between all of these facets is that there isn’t a common thread. Yes, it is important for different arms of a brand to be given some measure of autonomy, but I don’t get a sense of overall cohesion, overall strategy or even of overall communication.

Is this true of other countries? I don’t know. But I know that when I think of America, Canada, France, Germany et al, I get a very strong brand image (rightly or wrongly). In some of the global cities I’ve had the chance to visit, I’ve felt this too (especially Toronto).

With all of the work that’s going on in the run up to the Olympics, how is Brand Britain changing – either domestically or internationally? Is it changing at all? And what basis is it being built on?

Please join the debate below – this could be a fascinating insight into how domestic and international marketers and creative types see Brand Britain…

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2 thoughts on “Brand Britain – what does it mean?

  1. Pingback: What does the Royal Wedding mean for the Great British brand? « interacter

  2. Pingback: Where the Big Society has got it wrong (and what this could mean for Brand Britain) « interacter

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