Britain has voted to leave the European Union. It’s one of the biggest global political shake-ups since the fall of the Berlin Wall, precipitating a huge fall on stock markets and the value of the British Pound.
With many British voters already experiencing “Regrexit” after choosing “Brexit”, what are the lessons for communicators?
Here are some key take-outs:
- Brexit is a lesson in what happens when an audience (in this case voters) doesn’t trust the brand (in this case politicians).
- The messaging from politicians was not always honest and the audience didn’t do their research properly. But, the onus is always on a brand (the politicians) to communicate an accurate message on an emotive issue.
“The politicians didn’t do their job informing the public. There was a lot of pandering, a lot of divisive commentary and what happened is their audience didn’t understand the repercussions. — Sarah
- Determine what your key message is — whatever is going to resonate with your audience. Find the point of difference that will give you longevity.
- Be honest with your audience. Brexit was a protest voice for those who feel they didn’t have a voice. Some campaigners were promising out-and-out lies to voters. They were exploiting the protest vote with a dishonest message. That ultimately damages trust — which we might already be seeing come back to bite campaigners as they back away from those promises.
“If after the Brexit vote people are Googling ‘what is the EU?’ it suggests to me that those fundamental messages were not getting through. They were too busy talking about X when the audience wanted to hear about Y.” — James
- Have answers and treat the audience like adults. Brexit campaigners did a good job of getting people riled up, but they haven’t actually come up with any solutions. Help the audience understand complex topics.
- Have positive solutions and become a trusted source of information. Get the audience onside by speaking the truth.
“All campaigns today are about saturation of message; it’s about scare campaigns, the focus on the negative. No one is inspiring; they’re always making us feel negative — and they’re meant to be the ones with the solutions.” — James
Here are the links you might need
- This article explains exactly what Brexit is.
- Here’s an article explaining “Brexit”, using an analogy about Texas leaving the United States.
- Brits really were Googling “what is the EU?” after the Brexit vote.
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