When Social Media Wins: Brand Britain

Brand value is not only incredibly hard to measure, it’s difficult to explain but the explanation we find does the best job is from Seth Godin who said, ‘a brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.’  We also believe that it’s how those brands react, adapt and deal with social, political and economic situations.

So in our mind, the most powerful brand in the world at the moment, would clearly be Great Britain.  Over the last couple of months, this is a country and a brand that has had a lot thrown at it.  Three terrorist attacks, an upcoming General Election and an economy that is still dealing with the Brexit decision.  Despite, or perhaps in spite of this, the brand values of this great country have never been stronger.

Much of this plays out in social media, which we often describe as a dangerous medium to measure sentiment. Like any decision you need to make, it’s determining which voice to listen to – and on social media, there’s many.  One of the challenges of our industry is not the volume of information and data we have available but in its interpretation – to a degree, the ability to gather data has exceeded the ability to analyse it.

An example of this is the Millennial demographic – of the many projects we’ve worked on and the understanding we have of this demographic, we’re often confronted in boardrooms (with significantly older generations) challenging our ascertain that Millennials don’t value online privacy.  “But they will post every 2nd minute, they’re always on their phones, they talk about this, my teenager said …”  It’s quite the opposite – for this demographic, having lived through the digital era, they understand more than the older generations that their online self is not necessarily a reflection of who they actually are.  It’s more what they leave out that defines them – which represents the challenge in really understanding them.

Despite the trepidations using social media to truly understand sentiment, there’s no denying how the UK public amplified their values, and as such the values of the country, online.

The #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling started in response to a New York Times headline that London was reeling.  Of the many responses that defined not only the British humour, resilience and ability to laugh at themselves, the two below were personal favourites.

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The widely circulated photo of the man running away from the attacks with his pint in tow, the fact many Londoners opened their doors and homes to those in need last Saturday night, the Manchester benefit concert all reinforce what the brand values are. In schools, the British Values that are being taught are a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law but from a brand perspective, we see resilience and determination under pressure, openness compassion and humour as the emotional levers to feel a connection to the UK.  And at present, Great Britain, especially online, are exceeding all expectations.  It’s not just about keeping calm and carrying on, it’s living and breathing the values that make people choose to live, work and visit the UK.  It’s wise not to believe everything you see online, but believe in Britain as the brand is winning and never been stronger.

By Paul Dixon

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