After the depressing farrago of last year’s Remain campaigning, the next six weeks will be a fascinating test of the lessons learned. As the main political parties scramble to compose their narrative, will simplicity, consistency and unity now be totems? At least there’s no time for the sort of tediously over-engineered, over-manned approach that hampered Britain Stronger in Europe; a snap election will presumably mean snappy decisions on how the leaders and their policies are branded and marketed. Agile planning, live testing and gut instinct, underpinned by absolute clarity, are basic requirements. Hmm.
Observing how the parties pull the levers of marketing and advertising over the coming weeks will certainly be interesting sport. But, from 9 June, it’s the policies of the winning team that will determine the future health of businesses and the creative industries. A strong majority in the Commons must ensure a decisive strategy for withdrawing from the European Union, whether that’s hard or soft. That should help shore up consumer confidence in the face of forecasts for inflation: the cost of food imported from countries within the EU is expected to rise by around a tenth within the next few years.
The good news is that there’s evidence consumers are still feeling positive – for now. Latest Advertising Association adspend figures – a measure of marketer confidence in consumer confidence – suggest that although growth will slow this year, it will pick up again in 2018.
Nevertheless, our world-beating advertising and marketing industries cannot continue to thrive without access to the best creative and strategic talent in the world. We need frictionless movement of the right people, not just from within the EU but from around the world, and protecting this talent pool must be a key aim of the new government. The Creative Industries Federation called on the government this week to prioritise the creative industries in a new visa system that recognises the needs of fast-growing and highly innovative sectors such as tech and creative businesses.
The UK creative industry is currently the fastest-growing sector of the economy, delivering almost £90bn in gross value added to the economy. Even so, the next government must commit to replace the EU grants and loan guarantees from Creative Europe that have provided economic lifelines for the small creative and cultural businesses behind some of this growth.
Let’s hope that the attention given by politicians to marcoms in the race towards 8 June translates into a recognition of the need to protect and grow the industry from 9 June.