The British Brands Group has launched its first ever study of the value of brands to the UK economy, which reveals that companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo and AG Barr support around 1m jobs across the UK in highly skilled fields such as research and development, design, marketing and advertising.
This represents 4% of the total UK workforce, the same as all those employed in the financial management and accounting sector.
The report finds that £16bn is invested in creating and building brands, representing 12% of all intangible investment, but government statistics only recognise this investment as "intermediate consumption", the same way it accounts for expenditure on inputs such as electricity.
The British Brands Group is calling on the Government to look more closely at the contribution of branding to the economy and to integrate branding more closely into policymaking to ensure the country derives the most wealth and competitiveness from an area of business where there is already "significant investment and world-class skills".
The report claims that the UK branding sector is in a strong position to support the UK economy and help drive it out of recession.
It finds that investment in branding delivers important returns to the economy including:
- reassurance to consumers of a guaranteed level of quality;
- quicker adoption of new technologies and new ways of living and working;
- a closer alignment between companies and the expectations of society;
- a spur to innovation as companies strive to maintain and build their reputational assets;
- enhancing the reputation of the UK and its products and services abroad, supporting exports.
John Noble, director of the British Brands Group, said: "The brands consumers know and love are trusted to provide quality and value for money and branding already contributes significantly to the UK economy.
"However, the enormous value created is not being measured and is not integrated in government policy. Yet brands can help drive the economy out of difficult times and deliver significant wealth in the future."
Andrew Morgan, president of Diageo Europe, said: "The report demonstrates that UK brands make a sustainable and responsible contribution to the UK economy and play an important role in building a positive perception of this country overseas.
"The way people view countries is influenced by the quality of the goods and services that come from them. The UK is ranked second amongst 50 nations for being positively perceived by overseas consumers, thanks in part to the significant, positive contribution of branding."
The British Brands Group, which was founded in 1994 as a non-profit-making membership organisation, speaks on behalf of brand manufacturers.