When renowned and charismatic Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Ed Smith left his role in Australia he embarked on a move to the UK. After meeting with recruiters who claimed his CV was ‘all a bit crocodile dundee’ he decided he needed to immerse himself in our country.

Travelling across the UK, Ed interviewed more than 500 people in various towns and cities to gain an insight into what makes them tick; hopes, worries, interests and the brands that hold the power amongst these.

Last week, Ed came and lit up our amphitheatre to reveal what the British public had to say pre and post the Brexit vote, including a range of fascinating insights, opportunities and cautionary tales for marketers.

3 key lessons from Brexit for marketers:

1 – Targeting and messaging

The benefits of globalisation have not been evenly spread. When speaking to people in what Ed called ‘the less well off 50%’, he found that in the areas where these people live, the real time wages haven’t increased at the rate of the top 50%. In some cases, they have even gone down. It’s important for marketers to be aware of the disparity, especially when placing ads to avoid being inappropriate and ineffective.  

2 – Respect for the consumer

As David Ogilvy said ‘the consumer is not a moron she is your wife’. Ed found that the Brexit vote has led to a real surfacing of two sides - and two sides that do not see each other’s point of view. Ed says that a marketer’s role within a client’s organisation must be to be the voice of the consumer. Ed asks ‘If your marketer doesn’t stand up for the customer, then who in the organisation will’.

3 – Authenticity is key

Ed’s research found that the majority of people around the UK not only distrust advertising, but have a real disdain for it. A big theme that came out of Ed’s tour was a distrust of advertising and marketing. The UK people don’t believe what advertisers say – advertising’s integrity has been somewhat eroded. Marketers need to be harder on telling the truth and telling the truth clearly, else we make all of our work less effective.