Unless you’ve lived under a rock over the past week, you probably know about Brexit—the United Kingdom’s vote to walk away from the European Union.
If all of the news coverage has left your head spinning and wondering, “what does it all mean?” I highly recommend the punchy, entertaining primer, Brexit: 9 Questions You were Too Embarrassed to Ask, by Timothy B. Lee and Zack Beauchamp.
While I’m sure there are plenty of very serious economic and political implications, I have to admit that when the “Leave” campaign was anointed victorious, I immediately jumped online to hotel and airfare prices to London, hoping that FINALLY my US dollar may actually land me a decent-sized hotel room for a few nights!
Then, the potential for real implications took over when I received an article in OnlyInfluencers by Derek Harding, Brexit and Email Marketing, along with several others like Why Brexit is Both an Opportunity and a Strategic Risk for Marketers by Thomas Hobbs, How Will Brexit Impact Digital Businesses and Marketers? by David Moth and similar articles by Daniel Reilly and others.
It seems a cheaper vacation isn’t the only thing we marketers have to worry about!
Not only does Brexit mean potentially trickier privacy regulations—by most accounts the UK will continue on the path to implementing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), although brands will now have to prove compliance to both GDPR and any separate UK regulations—it could also mean that digital marketers will have to work even HARDER to demonstrate that they understand consumers’ concerns.
In fact, Avi Dan, founder of Avidan Strategies, said it best, reminding us that Brexit will bring new emphasis and priority on localization in marketing. “Brexit put a stake through the heart of globalization. Whatever happens next… the rise of nationalism will result in more protected markets and more localized marketing. Localization will transform how we think about and manage global brands, and marketing in general…[which means] local marketers will have to up their game,” he wrote. “They will also be asked to have responsibility for being the company’s thought leaders, not just mere implementers of the center’s ideas.”
Amid the political and economic uncertainty brought on by Brexit, this shift in positioning means that marketers have a unique opportunity to reassure consumers by maintaining a constant, trusted, personal relationship. “There is a strong opportunity now for brands to become the calming voices,” said Richard Robinson, Oystercatchers’ managing partner in Thomas Hobbs’ take on the Brexit move. Brands can reassure audiences that, despite political change, “our relationship can stay the same,” Robinson says, giving marketers an opportunity to build trust amid turmoil.
It’s the equivalent of a battle cry for marketers: let’s prove we can be there for our customers, to understand their needs, concerns and desires, in the midst of great uncertainty. Email personalization is a terrific way to deliver that kind of intimate, “we’re with you” kind of comfort and reassurance to customers. By reinforcing their trust, brands can help consumers ease into the Brexit transition, building loyalty and longevity along the way.