image of a cat in a box with the UK flag for a blog on Brexit

Brexit: brilliant marketing

Rest assured, readers, this is not another political rant. No matter which way you voted last week, there’s no denying from a marketing perspective, the Leave Campaign was brilliant and had the marketing upper hand. Why?

The Positioning statement

They had a simple and easy to understand slogan and positioning that people could relate to, and they made sure they used it: “Let’s take back control” was trotted out at every single opportunity. Every Leave spokesperson finished every speech and sound bite with this strong, memorable one liner without fail, the link to “taking control of immigration” created an emotive connection. It was emblazoned across every poster, flyer and bus – even the nightly news presenters were reminding us of it prior to every piece of Leave Campaign footage.

Anyone remember what the Remain Campaign was saying? No, me neither…

The Brand personalities

Like a seventies sitcom, (that their target audience fondly adores – but more about that later) the Leave Campaign boasted “personalities, not politicians.” There was the funny one with the crazy hair, the sensible one in specs and the pub mate propping up the bar with a pint and an opinion. They were turning up in every corner of the country, in that bus, smiling, shaking hands and repeating: “Let’s take back control” to everyone and anyone who was listening.

Remain Campaign – it seemed to be Dave, Dave and more Dave. Obama popped up for a second along with unknown experts and economists representing acronyms, but these people were still pitched to the public as “politicians,” preaching from a podium, not schmoozing down the pub with the people.

Emotive messages

Whether you think they were fact or fiction – that’s not what this blog is about – what is fact is that the Leave Campaign messages were simple. And these simple, short, memorable and emotive messages resonated with the target audience. The one about the NHS getting £350 million, the one about immigration… and they were on repeat, repeat, repeat. Emblazoned on the battle bus, rolled out on Question Time and filling the pages of the press, no matter which side of the fence you’re sitting on – you can clearly understand and recall those messages.

The Remain Campaign talked about economics. That people working in the City would lose their jobs and international corporations “would leave the UK and do business elsewhere.” Turns out most of the country outside London didn’t care. So, was the economic message too complex for the British voting public? Did it need simplifying? Or did it need to get more individualised and focused? If Wales knew prior to 23 June they have so far been awarded £4 billion – the highest levels of EU economic support, would they have voted Leave? Would Cornwall have voted Brexit if they knew they could now lose £60m a year in funding?

These localised messages, which seem to be causing a stir, have been splashed across the media since 24 June…err…that’s a day too late, Remain Campaign.

The campaign vision

Leave: Played out an emotive campaign, designed to convince the voting public that Britain could be better if we controlled immigration. It gripped the public, telling us how Britain has been destroyed by uncontrolled immigration. How we can make it better if we just “take back control” (see what I did there!) It was all about power to the people! (And there’s another reference to a popular 70s sitcom!)

Remain: Ran with a factual campaign. It was about the economy and being a stronger Britain if we just stay as we are, sit back and do nothing. This “let’s do nothing,” numbers game simply did not resonate with the majority of eligible voters who’s localised economy; housing market, job prospects and future seem pretty dire anyway.

So Team Leave won.

For me, Marketing was at the heart of the Leave Campaign success and helped them win the referendum.

But whichever way you voted, and whatever the future holds, let’s harness the power of marketing to show the world how great the UK is. Let’s capture all the emotion around Brexit, pull together as a team and market the UK to instil global confidence, then everyone benefits.