Where do we go from here?
On Thursday, 23rd of June, the British public voted to leave the European Union. With 51.9% of the vote, the results left the United Kingdom divided; socially, economically and culturally. The effects of Brexit are widespread, with the pound hitting a thirty year low and the result shaking the world’s economy. After this paradigm shift from a reality of 40 years, where do we go from here? And how does the result affect our creativity as a nation?
The creative industries contribute £84.1 billion to the UK economy every year. That is almost £10 million an hour. The industry is significant in generating profit, but also for the progression of attitudes, the development of ideas and maintaining London as the creative hub of the world.
How could Brexit change this? Well, the most daunting prospect of Britain ‘going alone’ is the uncertainty of the situation. No one can accurately predict the near or far future and for some brands and agencies, this volatile situation is worrying. Nick Fox, the founding partner of Atomic London, believes we could see a number of advertising agencies leaving Britain: "I can certainly imagine international agencies currently based in the U.K. wouldn't think twice about relocating if it came to Brexit."
Along with losing global creative forces, we run the risk of losing talent too. Free movement allowed London to have access to the top talent from 28 countries, which maintained the capital as leaders in the industry. Now, with Britain so aggressively ‘out’ and with immigration having been the forefront of the leave campaign, it is possible that recruitment of the best creative minds will be stunted. Marketing Week claims: “Britain’s marketing, technology and creative industries are highly diverse and multinational, so curbs on EU immigration would affect many businesses’ recruitment practices. Figures from data intelligence company DueDil show that more than a fifth of British startups are led by foreign entrepreneurs, while the number of tech directors in Britain from EU countries has grown by 176% since 2010.”
There could be repercussions with regards to homegrown talent too. ‘The 75%’ refers to the 18-24 year olds that voted to remain in the EU, with many 16-17 year olds taking to Twitter to voice their discontent with the result and not being qualified to vote on the biggest political change in their lifetime.
This demographic are now at the time in their lives where they will be making defining life choices, and with economic stability of the country in turmoil, a career in the creative industries will look less appealing than more financially secure professions. In addition to this, it is possible that many may emigrate to the EU or further afield to countries with steady economies, and Britain could suffer from a ‘brain drain’. Not long ago in 2012/2013, Ireland saw a high number of young people (many of which were educated and qualified) abandon the country for better prospects abroad in the UK, US or Australia.
The EU referendum result does not only mean a loss when it comes to recruitment. Without exposure to cultural diversity, we lose the privilege of a different perspective, refreshing ideas and new experiences that enhance development, understanding and progression. These are cogs in the machine that established London as the world’s cosmopolitan, creative powerhouse.
And it’s not just the ramifications of leaving the EU that will lead to a loss of talent, money and creativity for Britain. The EU directly finances cultural and creative projects/businesses in the UK. Creative Europe was introduced in 2014, with the aim to inject funding into the cultural and creative sectors over seven years. With a budget of €1.46 billion, and the UK having access to 9% of this, Creative Europe was predicted to benefit hundreds of thousands of creative professionals. The programme replaced the former EU Culture and MEDIA programmes that previously contributed to the release of British blockbusters across Europe, such as The Iron Lady (€1.5 million), Slumdog Millionaire (€1.3 million) and The King’s Speech (€1 million). Without this funding, creativity in the UK is faced with a harsh reality and with a government that has historically cut funding to the arts, it is likely that this source of finance is lost for the foreseeable future.
How will The Flash Pack face this gruelling challenge? As creatives and marketers, The Flash Pack are creative problem solvers. We have a team of talented individuals that will continue to develop their skills, push their creativity and stay connected with the EU and the outside world. We are by no means strangers to staying resilient during tough economic times; infact, the business was born in the aftermath of the 2008 crash and has since grown steadily.
Vic Benton, Director of The Flash Pack says: “we will continue to deliver excellence through innovation and creativity. Britain leaving the EU was not the result we wanted, but we will not allow this factor to hinder our abilities as experts in creating uncompromising experiential marketing solutions. Our company motto is ‘be fearless’, and this is how we will be approaching the next few years as a business.”
It is also fair to argue that limitations and uncertainty can spark and evolve creativity. According to Microsoft’s Innovation and Creativity in a Recession advertising paper: “Creative Directors often report that during tough times, they have to work harder with less budget, but that the end results are better, as they are more focused on thinking ‘outside the box’.”
In periods of turbulence, brands should take the opportunity to reassess their connection with their consumer to ensure they are relevant in times of prosperity and recession. It is a time to review marketing techniques, reassure their audience and rebuild their values as a brand. IPA the body of advertisers believe that this is the time the UK must up its game, and reaffirm its position as creative leaders: “Brexit will force UK marketers to up their creativity levels and prove their worth globally.”
With this cloud of uncertainty looming over the industry, it is likely that marketing budgets will but cut to some extent, meaning marketers must be well equipped to create even more uncompromising innovative marketing solutions. Engaging your consumer efficiently has never been more crucial. With our pragmatic and disruptive approach,The Flash Pack will continue to build an emotional experiential connection with your consumer, asserting your brand’s values and establishing its relevance in this tense time. We aim to ‘be fearless’ in our approach and with potentially hard times ahead, this is a sentiment that will define The Flash Pack more than ever.