The initiative is being launched in the aftermath of this summer’s riots where social issues like crime and unemployment were brought to the fore. The Prime Minister’s programme is another step in rehabilitating the country’s troubled image. Interestingly, last week I attended Rebuilding Brand Britain, an event designed to highlight ways to develop new marketing strategies for brands in trouble. In this case, the brand in question was Britain.
During the event, I was shown images of a coiffed Kate Moss in Burberry, followed by a mug shot of a football hooligan after his arrest, donning a shirt of the same iconic check. The point of the comparison was to demonstrate how the brand had been appropriated by communities outside of the company’s target market. Much work has since been done at Burberry to reclaim the brand and successfully rebuild its integrity as a luxury label.
In order for a luxury clothing company to be successful, consumers must understand the brand’s values. Whether the value is craftsmanship (Hermès), a bold aesthetic (Pucci) or durable quality (North Face), brands sell themselves through their values. So what do Burberry’s values have to do with Britain? Actually, the synergies run deep.
Following last summer’s riots, Britain has much global re-branding to do. Britain’s economy relies on tourism, global investment and innovation – all sectors which market directly to consumers. Prospective students, businesses, tourists and consumers must understand the values held by Britain’s policy-makers, corporations, and communities in order to want to buy-in to it. While Britain embodies the image of burning cars and hooded youths from this summer, it cannot portray itself as a cohesive brand. Cameron’s announcement today is certainly a first step in re-branding Britain, with values like: leadership, family, social regeneration and transformation.
So perhaps developing strong values is a strategy not exclusive to the recovery of brands in the fashion world, but can be applied to entire communities and economies. Re-branding Britain through strong social programmes and funding may be the necessary catalysts to spark the country’s international image and economy back to life.