Theresa May has found a marketing slogan that works... for now
A view from Gemma Charles

Theresa May has found a marketing slogan that works... for now

Figures from the worlds of business, the arts and politics plus creative companies such as Google, Freuds and Unruly came together this week to unveil #LondonIsOpen.

The campaign’s launch video shows famous doors opening to illustrate that, in the wake of Britain’s seismic vote to leave the European Union, London is still a great place for business and visitors.

10 Downing Street’s black door kicks off the film and its new occupant put her spin on events with the phrase fast becoming the government’s marketing slogan. 

Commenting on the initiative, Theresa May told the London Evening Standard: "London is one of the greatest cities on Earth and we have every reason to be optimistic for its future. I have been very clear that Brexit means Brexit and that we are going to make a success of it."

While her first speech as PM tried to place the Tories firmly in the centre ground, it’s that now oft-heard slogan "Brexit means Brexit" that is defining May’s new administration.

It’s a clever strapline as it serves a dual purpose for May and her merry (for now) band of men and women following a bruising referendum campaign. Given that most senior Tory MPs were Remainers, Brexiter colleagues needed reassurance that their ambition would be pursued with gusto. A clear, unequivocal pledge undoubtedly serves this purpose.

The speed with which May, a "reluctant Remainer", introduced her soundbite will have placated those who felt the next PM had to be a full-blooded Brexiter. It has certainly gone down better than May’s previous branding intervention, when she famously warned that Conservatives were seen as the "nasty party".

As an offer to the public, the message also works well. It’s strong, simple and memorable, with more than a hint of Ronseal "Does what it says on the tin". So "Brexit means Brexit" is an employee-engagement rallying cry turned consumer-facing campaign, if you like.

The challenge for May will be to ensure she’s continuing to communicate a product truth. While many people are still fearful of and saddened by the prospect of leaving the EU, despite a rocky start Brexit does have some allure. An Ipsos Mori poll released this week found that 55% of Brits think the economy will be better off in ten or 20 years post-Brexit. But the survey also shows they expect pain before gain; six out of ten people think they will be worse off in the next 12 months.

Just as George Osborne’s "We’re all in this together" mantra began to elicit hollow laughter and snorts of derision when reality proved otherwise, "Brexit means Brexit" could become a millstone around May’s neck if, as her Brexit plan becomes clearer, it’s viewed as unachievable or undesirable.