Brexit and marketing

When I started out in this great marketing profession of ours, I was told to treat every problem as an opportunity.

Well, if recent events are anything to go by, Brexit has to be seen as the mother of all opportunities!

Falling stock markets, a fractious and divided electorate, antipathy from our European neighbours and threats of devolution in Scotland have all combined into a perfect storm which no-one seems to have seen coming and which our leaders seem unwilling or unable to address.

In terms of the Brexit camp “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind, and for the Remainers “Never assume.”

One of the major themes has been the need for business to have “certainty.”

Time and again, business leaders have said business needs certainty in order to thrive any yet, it there is one thing certain in business, it is that there is no such thing as certainty.

Porter told us in his “five forces” model that business life is dynamic, with threats from new technology, new entrants, substitute products and the changing dynamics of buyer and supplier power.

If there was certainty, we wouldn’t need a marketing strategy

In the post-brexit world, the UK will need to get back to what made it successful from the 19th century on – making and selling goods and services the world needs.

To do that, we need strong, intelligent marketing leadership where understanding and retaining good customer relationships, analysing markets and spotting opportunities  and developing competitive products will become paramount.

For too long we have focussed on the EU not only as a market, but as a business environment which sought to make decisions for its members within a set framework.

It’s time for us to reach out to world markets and make our own success by doing what we do best – defining marketing strategy, building strong brands and attracting and keeping customers.

Yes, it really is the mother of all opportunities.

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spqr_502I had just finished reading Mary Beard’s excellent history of Rome – SPQR – when I went to a workshop recently about making presentations.

There was a certain amount of synchronicity, therefore, when we were given an acronym to remember for structuring a presentation where you want support for a proposal, which was SPQR!

Making such a presentation starts with a story, a situation, which you want your audience to understand and support your conclusions.

SPQR helps structure that story as follows:

S – Situation. What is the back ground leading up to the presentation, Where are we and why?

P – Problem. What is the problem we need to address? What are the wider issues around the problem?

Q – Question. What is the proposal you want to make? Use “what if…?” Get the audience to think about solutions.

R – Response. What do you need from the audience? How will it help the situation?

Stories are a powerful way of getting your message across, so it’s important to get the balance right between information and narrative.

And, like all good stories, there needs to be a beginning, middle and an end with a narrative flow to take people with you.

In ancient Rome, SPQR stood for Senatus Populusque Romanus, which translates to “The Senate and People of Rome”.

Some of the best orators ever known appeared in the Roman senate, and its fun to think of their motto being applied in this modern context.

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