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21 July 2016

Brexit: reading the tea leaves for UK Research

Written by Clare Partington, Posted in RPTIntelligence

Brexit: reading the tea leaves for UK Research

Ah, the ‘B’ word...

Sparking arguably the biggest socio-political divide the UK has seen in decades, the result of the June referendum has caused many MR agencies to dust off their ‘only-for-emergencies’ strategy books, pull up their ‘we’ll-make-it-through’ socks and start inspecting their teacups closely for storms. If there are any storms, however, we’re talking about some pretty valuable teacups: the UK MR industry’s GVA reached £4.8bn this year.

So, amidst currency devaluation, changing trade regulations, recruitment issues, devastating international perceptions – the list could go on - it is probably no surprise that, talking to some of the most prominent leaders in the UK MR community, we could liken the sentiment to Douglas Adams’ line about the creation of the universe which ‘has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.’ This Bellweather Report would certainly agree.

Cloudy Crystal BallAnd yet the UK MR industry is robust. It has survived recessions and political upheaval, adapted to technological revolutions and grown by 62% over the past 4 years. All that despite the doom and gloom of the industry’s forever-cloudy crystal balls. The question is begged: how will research fare now? 

Perhaps, better than we’d like to think…

In post-Brexit Britain, the teacup-half-full suggests that there might be an increase in interest in conducting research, to reach out further globally, to tap deeper than ever into new and existing markets, inside and outside the UK. Brands looking further afield than Europe may find more value in research as the way of understanding even more diverse cultures within their grasp. Life-saving insight based on solid evidence could be a filler for the financial and social stability gap that has been created.

In short, no longer can businesses reasonably expect to make decisions in the dark because it has all moved since the last time the lights were on.

Besides the immediate effects, though, for now it’s all speculation. The precarious socio-economic scales could tip either way. Whatever bruises that businesses may be sporting, however, perhaps now is the time to do what the UK MR industry does best: seize the opportunity in the madness and come out of it much better than planned.

What are your thoughts? Give your voice to this article; we would love to hear it!

About the Author

Clare Partington

Clare Partington

A tongue-in-cheek optimist whose passion for this small world and the beings in it compels inoffensive blogs on the big cultural and linguistic topics that affect us all. And occasionally on CATs. Lots of CATs.

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