A big opportunity for brand Britain

Brexit. In or out, sceptic or advocate, we are where we are and we need to get on with it.

Court cases, hard exit, soft exit, referendums, independence, back-pedalling, muddied waters and an impenetrable fog of rehetoric will change nothing. Sooner or later, we’re out. Will we make an utter arse of it or can we maximise on this moment in time?

Let’s imagine that optimism and vision trump (sorry!) pessimism and short sightedness. What an opportunity lies before us. We’ve hit the reset button, accidentally or otherwise, are we going to rise to the challenge of re-writing a better future or will we wallow in the quagmire of politics and our own inherently fatalistic nature?

I think Churchill said it best, “ the British Nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.” 

Being British, without doubt we like a good moan, we like nothing better than a meltdown or disaster to confirm that the world’s stacked against us. Equally, this negative trait is inexorably linked to our national modesty and strength of not taking ourselves too seriously. We don’t like anyone to be seen to be too big for their boots. It’s simply not British. 

Now where am I going with this? Good question as frankly I’m not quite sure myself, but surely being British is a great thing, the envy of the world. But sometimes our negative traits outweigh our positive values and here lies the dichotomy of our current situation.

“…instead of trying to grapple with the implications of the story of empire, the British seem to have decided just to ignore it…….the most corrosive part of this amnesia is a sense that because the nation is not what it was, it can never be anything again…” Jeremy Paxman. Empire: What ruling the World did to the British.

In a world that seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket: the USA in political and societal meltdown, Russia once again attempting European destabilisation and the Middle East in its usual fractious turmoil, Britain and the British people have an opportunity to be a shining example that can lead the way and show what we can be as a nation. The question is, can we play to our amazing strengths without getting bogged down by our inherited weaknesses?

We are by nature modest, hard working, brave, adventurous, innovative and creative. We have been so as long as our little island has been inhabited. We have provenance and authenticity with a rich history second to none. We have stories abound in a world that craves quality ‘content’. Stories of bravery, innovation, adventure and exploration. Of manufacturing excellence, scientific firsts, technological breakthroughs and creative brilliance. We have natural wonders known the world over and the produce from our green and pleasant land is simply a taste apart. These stories are hundreds of years old, but we’re still writing new ones every week. Values, skills and truths as old as our hills but as prevalent today, in every corner of our nation, as ever.

What a country. What a history. What a people. What an example. What a brand!

A blank page lies before us, a frankly unique situation for an entire country, we must not squander the opportunity. Like any successful brand or growing business we need singular strong leadership with a clear simple, aspirational vision we can all get behind, believe in and ultimately, deliver. It needs to be built on our history, our values and our strengths as well as our weaknesses. Our unique melting pot of talent and skills bound together by the historical British bedrock of hard work, courage and honesty.

The vision needs to unite and motivate us, the team, and our children (the team of tomorrow) to deliver the Britain we are and can be, not the one we were. One where the definition of Great is one based on today and not just the glories of our past. If we can deliver what we’re undoubtedly capable of, we can not only lead the world in so many different fields, but be a bastion of what integrity, excellence and collective graft can achieve. A beacon of hope in an uncertain world.

Like any big vision and goal, this could never be achieved in a four year political cycle. It would need long term thinking and an unwavering commitment from top to bottom. Once defined in our positioning and articulated in our ‘guidelines’ we’d need to consistently deliver across the generations. United in mind and body with a focus on long term global impact for the better. Forever.

It’s just a thought, but wouldn’t that be Great?