Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - What Defines Britain as a Brand?

Article excerpt

VisitBritain is reviewing Britain's brand identity and developing a line to sell it as a destination. But Britons can't agree on what constitutes Britishness, so what should it focus on?

CHRIS WOOD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CORPORATE EDGE

The truth of the matter is that what defines Britain the brand for a person visiting this country is us, the British public.

Today's visitor wants a holiday that's an experience rather than an exhibition, and that means that everyone they meet - the people in hotels and B&Bs, pubs and clubs, shops and theatres - probably give a clearer sense of the brand than any advertising campaign or strapline ever could.

So the real challenge for VisitBritain, and the nation as a brand, is to get Britons to 'hug a Hungarian' or 'befriend a Bosnian'. If we can crack that, and make visitors feel really welcome here, we will have a great brand and a more successful tourism industry.

CHRISTIAN SCHROEDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LAMBIE-NAIRN

The Empire that used to define Britain both at home and abroad is something that is no longer appropriate. We live in a fragmented society defined more by local, regional or cultural identities characterised by sport, accent or religion.

Devolution is forever hovering in the background and as a people we tend to define ourselves more by what we are not than what we are.

If there really is a need to define Britain as a brand, one would first need to develop an overarching idea that is relevant to as wide a cross-section of the British public as possible, and then make it credible to the rest of the world. …