Business

Four takeaways from Brexitland

Game of Thrones tourists battle the weather at Ballintoy. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Carol Magill

AS we count down to another election in Northern Ireland, it's difficult to forget the politics and the time scale. However, the marketing industry is already adapting to the Brexit roll-out.

Here are four key points organisations and marketers should take notice of.

1 Sticking to the rules

Until we hear otherwise, the same EU regulations apply to Britain, and may continue to apply after Britain leaves. This is particularly true for marketers working across UK and European markets.

All responsible organisations are still committed to following the directives on, for example, misleading and comparative advertising.

CIM can help marketers navigate this area with guidance on data protection, both legal aspects and how consumers feel about ethical approaches to this area - the answer is, they like companies, who keep social media honest.

Go online for CIM's 'Whose Data is it Anyway' report to find out more about this issue (https://exchange.cim.co.uk/thought-leadership/whose-data-is-it-anyway/)

2 Preparing for price changes

From wine and cars to apps and consumer goods, there's a consensus that prices are being affected by Brexit.

Recognising that grocery prices may go up because of the weak pound, supermarkets are turning away from marketing on prices (already made tougher by the advent of Lidl, et al) and towards brand values. For an example, see Tesco's new ‘Food Love Stories' series of adverts.

Focusing only on price has always carried risk for marketers, so finding an alternative could be a clever strategy in the months to come.

On March 14 in Crumlin Road Goal, CIM will be hosting an event where Mintel's winners and losers will be focusing on food brands in 2016 and offering a glimpse into how price is not always the prime motivator – book online to pick up some lessons from some brand wins and fails.

3 Be Resilient

We are a region which has transformed itself in the past 20 years. Our businesses and people demonstrated great resilience and creativity, and will continue to do so.

Over the years, Northern Ireland has forged its own unique brand which marketers who work in tourism, heritage, food and drink or films will continue to trade on.

Our coastline and natural beauty is recognised internationally – we are home to the Game of Thrones; our people, our fans and friendliness is also well known, thanks to our great football, golfing and boxing heroes (to name but a few).

4 Remembering that nobody knows what will happen

Some think it will be the end of the world, others see it as a golden opportunity – but whatever happens, we can be sure that Brexit requires marketers to be flexible.

For example, budgets rose to their highest level for two years in the final quarter of 2016, according to the most recent Bellwether Report, as firms seek to find new opportunities – but this could all be reversed if the economic situation worsens.

Much will depend on whether there is a so-called soft Brexit or a hard Brexit. Marketers should prepare for either eventuality.

:: Carol Magill is CIM network manager for Ireland.

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