The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on Friday 29th March 2019, almost three years after the British public voted to leave. As the government and businesses prepare for the new post-Brexit rules between the UK and EU to begin, I wanted to have a look at why this happened and the reasons behind the vote.
Research conducted by YouGov highlighted the significant differences in trust in media and political organisations between remain and leave voters, showing how correlated these metrics are. But this is far from being an isolated result as this vote was part of a wider trend.
According to marketing guru Richard Edelman, the economic crisis and recession may be behind us but the effects of it are still here. When the world went through these tough times a decade ago, it increased the suspicion that elites and higher classes would make decisions with their own interests at heart rather than the wider population’s. This, in turn, resulted in a decrease in trust in elites such as political figures, opinion leaders, media and other institutions.
For example, in further YouGov research, it is also highlighted that there is now a difference of 20 points in trust in institutions between the top 25% income earners and the bottom 25% income earners. This is illustrated below on the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Other examples of this wider trend include Donald Trump – an entrepreneur rather than a politician elected to be the head of one of the most powerful countries in the world or Emmanuel Macro – a banker who created his own political party to detach himself from the other ones and became French president.
But what does this mean for brands?
Just like the elites, brands need to ensure they are approachable and close to consumers to regain consumers trust by being transparent and showing how they have consumers’ interests at heart.
This also means that word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer advice are much more valued than opinions from influencers. Mediums such as blogs will help brands create relationships with audiences much more than big reach media and campaigns focussing on organic and user-generated content.
A topical example of this trend in practice is when Facebook recently changed its news feed algorithm by prioritising content created by people users know rather than media brands.
It will be interesting to see how negotiations pan out and how brands continue to react to engage with consumers effectively.