If you, like me woke up about 5am on Friday in absolute shock then we are not alone! On Thursday, the masses spoke and voted for Britain to leave the EU. There were rows and insults flung around on Facebook followed by key leave campaigners admitting that their promises would not be as easy to implement as once thought.
Although there is a petition circling calling for a re-vote due to the amount of Brexiteer’s changing their mind – it is looking unlikely that the government will go against democracy and allow this to happen.
Although I believe this is a massively disappointing outcome which a naturally diverse and digital demographic didn’t ask for, it’s now time to get behind the decision before it really hits us hard – here are the threats and opportunities presented to the comms industry in light of the referendum.
The key issue and likely immediate impact for most marketers is the risk to their jobs. Some roles are funded by the EU and creative industries in Britain benefit from EU membership via direct investment and job creation. For example, Creative England, which funds films, tech startups and agencies may lose its access to a range of EU funds in the event of Brexit.
In terms of recruitment, Brexit may make it more difficult for organisations to recruit talent from EU countries. Although Brexit supporters argue that brands and agencies will still be able to attract the most qualified people using the work permit system. However, a new immigration and legislative procedure creates inevitable delay and new administrative burdens.
A recession is when the economy shrinks and this is done when businesses stop purchasing or stop investing. At the moment, despite George Osborne pleading with organisations to continue as normal – recruitment and purchasing is likely to slow. Although contract based work won’t be affected, agencies may struggle with new business wins in the foreseeable future.
Businesses are confused right now – struggling on how to keep their employees and customers calm whilst not really knowing what is around the corner in terms of trade and legislation. This is the perfect opportunity for PR agencies to step in and assist with internal communications. Likewise, helping clients make sense of these uncertain times could position their businesses as thought leaders on how they are dealing with the changes which could result in more sales and coverage.
The EU has long been a source of frustration for digital marketers. Tedious privacy requirements, such as “right to be forgotten,” won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but the UK will no longer be subject to most of them. In the long run after having better control on our own regulations, it is likely digital advertising in the UK will change for the better, as far as marketers are concerned.
Social media sentiment leaned slightly in favor of #Brexit, as reported Thursday by social media analytics firm Spredfast. This came as a bit of a shock to marketers, as traditionally, the youth power social media however the 18-24 year olds voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.
This does present an interesting insight for digital marketers because the older (50+) demographic drove the results of this Brexit vote, and Spredfast’s accurate assessment of the social media sentiment. I have written before on how marketers are ignoring baby boomers but this highlights again that there is a huge demographic of silver surfers using social media and being ignored. Likewise, with a huge amount of business decision makers falling into this demographic, one could argue that social selling should be a lot more successful in this segment.
While it is clear that Brexit is a step into the unknown and even the experts are unsure on what will happen next, it is important to remember that it won’t be like a light going out where the rest of Europe can no longer see us. Britain’s strength as an exporter of creative and innovative marketing services means it will still be in the position to market to a worldwide audience. It is time to embrace the change and put our helmets on as it will be a rocky yet fascinating ride!