For millions across the globe ‘Britishness’ is a significant part of the authenticity of the brand they choose to buy. It can mean everything from the heritage and cut of a Savile Row suit, to the embossed Connelly leather of an Aston Martin. Fundamentally, ‘Britishness’ has become an iconic, hard to define quality, and those brands that embody it, and succeed in turning it to their best advantage, truly stand out in the international marketplace.
We asked a straw poll of consumers what exactly ‘Britishness’ meant to them. Many said that it meant craft and quality; a sense of understated sophistication. Others expressed the fact that it is traditional, yet modern. A surprising number highlighted practicality, something well made that can be depended upon, and others said it was a creative ‘spark’ that made something unique. Asked to define the quality of ‘Britishness’ through their own choice of products, manufacturers or designers, responses ranged from The Mini, to the Rolls Royce, from Burberry raincoats to Alexander McQueen’s skull prints, and from Stella McCartney’s fashion brand to Oliver Sweeney’s funky yet traditional shoes.
All have managed to infuse their brands with a ‘Britishness’ requiring not only marketing expertise, but a ‘brand story’ that is rich in association. For Aston Martin it is the 50 year link to James Bond, whilst for Savile Row it is the sartorial image of English gentlemen ranging from Prime Ministers to Princes. Whether the brand story is rooted in nostalgia or a unique vision of the future, if it is authentic and can amplify the right elements it will succeed; but only if it’s delivered in the right way. This type of storytelling is how brands need to connect with the hearts and minds of today’s consumer.