Made in where?

There’s good news about Brexit, someone told me. We can finally have a meeting without talking about Millenials. True. And one thing in particular keeps coming up in those meetings: what will ‘Made in Britain’ mean for brands and consumers now?

Among our clients’ brands alone, a ‘Made In Britain’ sensibility has been powerful in recent years. Belstaff recently announced they were bringing their key operations back on shore. Hardy Amies, owned by Hong Kong financiers, still calls Savile Row home. Fred Perry invests in championing British music. And Hunter, whose brand values and vision we helped articulate for their super successful relaunch three years ago, is now known as a progressive, British heritage brand allaround the world – with fast-growing global sales to match.

All different. All obviously ‘British’. Should that change?

Made in where

To find the answer, ask another question first: how much does a brand’s country of origin still matter in a globally connected world? A lot, according to Nielsen’s most recent Global Brand-Origin Survey. A brand’s country of origin is at least as important, to the majority of consumers, as other factors such as its range, price, function and quality.

Perhaps in a world where we zoom across borders without stopping (and every high street looks the same when we arrive), a brand’s country of origin helps us feel located.

My second question is the big one – what are the brand values of Brexit Britain? Heritage? Definitely. A certain type of style? Absolutely. Respectability? Hmmmm.

I personally hope that what drove Brexit wasn’t a querying of plurality, but the querying of the acceptance of plurality. And I suspect that this quality of questioning, searching, creating new answers (along with a healthy refusal to accept the status quo) will remain a key part of what it means to be a successful, progressive British brand.

Of course, as always, the consumers will tell us what they think. Either slowly and irreversibly by voting with their wallet (bye bye, Austin Reed), or quickly in research (the most revealing of which is linguistic analysis).

If you’re wondering what British means for your brand or you’d like to hear more about our work using brand language to create a vision and values for brands, email Chris