Consumers recognise New Britain brands

Consumers are buying into the concept of “New Britain” and can distinguish between products, brands and companies which embody the qualities of “Old” and “New Britain”, according to recent findings.

Dragon ran focus groups in Leeds and London to measure consumers’ cynicism or otherwise towards the Government’s push to reinvent the image of Britain.

Having expected participants to have written off the idea following the Cool Britannia backlash, Dragon founder Dorothy MacKenzie was “amazed” at the positive connotations which New Britain held.

“They basically found the concept appealing and desirable, and approached New Britain with cautious optimism,” she says.

“Cool Britannia”, however, was written off as mere hype. The words which they linked to New Britain included cutting edge, global, provocative, creative and confident.

Participants were asked to distinguish between brands which encompass the qualities of New Britain and those which don’t. Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, Coffee Republic, Ikea, The Body Shop and Pret Manger were all seen as New Britain brands, while BHS and Littlewoods were not.

“A lot of companies up there [in the ‘definitely New Britain’ category] put strong value on design and innovation,” says MacKenzie. The task groups pinpointed qualities for New Britain brands, which Dragon interprets as a framework for brand development.

These include qualities relating to attitude, identity and reputation. “The battleground for brands is trust,” says MacKenzie, much the same as it is in today’s politics. And “design and communication have a key role”, she adds.

Brands’ position in this new national order is clear. The idea of New Britain is made up of attitudes of minds. “So brands will need to place their attitude in the context of this,” she says.

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