As new high-growth economies and changes to the shape of the world order emerge, our study has revealed that Britain is reappraising its purpose and role in the world. For example, 60% of those who took part in our survey of 2000 people, believe that Britain should focus on its relationship with China and over a quarter (27%) stated that they feel someone born in China would have better opportunities than themselves. But with so much focus on what’s going on overseas, are we overlooking the opportunities that a shifting world order is bringing to the future of Britain? Let’s take retail, for example.
The Cambridge Satchel Company, referenced in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend is a perfect example of a British brand capitalising on the development of a high-growth economy such as China. Founder Julie Deane, who set up the company four years ago at her kitchen table with just £600 pounds, is now holding talks with Zong Qinghou, China’s richest man, to supply the British bags to retail and clothing giant Wahaha as part of its country-wide expansion which will see an increase in partnerships with European ‘affordable luxury’ brands. To many overseas markets, Britain’s heritage still equates premium quality and just as we are becoming more receptive to the influence of external cultures, so are we seeing a reciprocated demand for British brands and products internationally. So as the rapid growth of technology and the digital landscape continue to accelerate globalisation, British brands have increasing opportunity to reach out to broader, more international audiences.
Similarly, we’re seeing the impacts of a shifting world order on our own soil. Britain is an increasingly diverse, tolerant and multicultural nation. Our study found that 45% of Britons have experienced the benefits brought by new cultures and ethnicities, such as food, music and art, and 43% of British people have friends from different ethnic backgrounds. By demonstrating a real understanding of what it means to be British today and identifying with the different cultural needs and aspirations in the nation, brands have the opportunity to engage with new audiences. They need to make themselves relevant to cater for diversity and to future-proof their marketing strategies. Retailers, such as Selfridges, now accepting China’s UnionPay credit cards is just one example of how British brands are adapting to new consumer behaviours and the influence of external cultures.
From innovation to heritage, technology to prestige, Britain is being reimagined. As the dust begins to settle and we re-evaluate our contribution to a very different global landscape, we need to stay alert to new opportunities both within Britain and overseas.