Written by Milly Edgerley • Published 8th December 2016 • 2 minute read
The business world is just beginning to come to terms with the shock of Brexit and what it may hold for the future. However, even with all the apocalyptic possibilities being thrown around, possibly the biggest risk at this stage is staying quiet on the issue. Not weighing in to one of the biggest debates of the decade could suggest you’re not engaged in current affairs, or simply don’t care. This lack of input is not appealing for customers in any sector, and you’re not winning anyone over by not having an opinion.
Customers will want to know that your business and clients still operate in this post-Brexit economy. They want confirmation that your business is accommodating to a change that could, but doesn’t necessarily have to, create unnecessary risk in customer base. Creating any risk has the potential to be bad for business. Therefore, it’s important to listen, and to use comms to mitigate the risks at hand. Engage and debate with the market and speak with them.
Communication works two ways, and for businesses, the first step of dealing with Brexit should be to open this conversation. Although being cautious is advisable around Brexit, it is not a topic on which to withhold opinions. The confidence that comes with starting the conversation will be beneficial both to how the customer-base views the business, and how the business is internally set to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
It is important to remember that negotiations will take place over months and years. Brexit is not just a one-off to react to, but could also be the trigger that gives long-term confidence to your customer-base. Issues such as Brexit are often seen as attracting the same sort of commentator – they will tend to bring big businesses. We would encourage smaller businesses to think creatively about how they can fit into the discussion. For example, making a point about Brexit doesn’t always mean starting from Brexit, think about the content of what you’re saying rather than just branding it ‘Brexit’, you can have a whole discussion, only bringing in Brexit much later.
Brexit is about more than just traditional media. The online space around it is perceived as very crowded and the ideal set-up would come from being able to identify the brand without the brand name, due to the prominence and positioning of a pre-defined message. The threat of getting Brexit wrong could be as easy as not having a consistent message. There is a fear of being crowded out of the news and this can become a reality if you don’t have a campaign that is fully aligned. Brexit will be coming in and out of the conversation and it’s therefore important to be getting it right.
There is a huge business interest emphasis in the way Brexit might change the way we work. As the Article 50 case continues it becomes ever more clear that Brexit is a news cycle, not just a headline. By acknowledging it and using it in this way businesses can help to avoid fatigue around the campaign, and at the same time re-establish their voice as one prepared for what’s to come.