When the UK voted to leave the European Union a year ago, the nation was split into Leavers and Remainers. In light of last week’s election, should brands still divide consumers according to how they voted in the referendum?
Emily James, chief strategy officer at Y&R London, thinks people still define themselves as being pro- or anti-Brexit. "The Brexit vote revealed a division in people’s values," she said, adding that this is not something that will change quickly.
James attributed Jeremy Corbyn’s better-than-expected performance to how much the Labour leader appealed to people’s values.
"[We shouldn’t] think of it as Leavers and Remainers but more the values that underpin people’s voting, and brands have an opportunity to tap into those values."
Labour’s strong performance was most marked in areas that voted Remain, while the Conservatives picked up votes in constituencies that saw 60% or more voting Leave, Deborah Mattinson, a founding partner at BritainThinks, explained.
"If it wasn’t the ‘Brexit election’ in message terms, it may still have been in terms of the outcome," she said. "This suggests that fallout from the referendum had a greater impact on the political landscape that at first seemed the case."
Mark Lund, McCann Worldgroup’s UK chief executive, said the election result shows that Britain continues to change.
"It’s very complex," he said. "To get into dividing people into Leave or Remain is to miss the bigger picture, which is an evolving Britain. Marketers should look at what people want to put their faith in – and that’s brands that have a purpose."