Countdown to Brexit: Peter Watson, Managing Director at Distract

With the countdown to Brexit quickly ticking away, Business Link Magazine invites a select number of the region’s business leaders to offer their thoughts.

Here we talk with Peter Watson, Managing Director at Distract.

There’s been a disturbing trend lately in marketing. Brexit has loomed heavy, with even some of the most reliable sources for advice within the industry giving their thoughts like it will change everything.

I’m going to go against the grain here as I really do believe that Brexit shouldn’t change how we market.

At all.

In this industry, the ones who continue to do well are those that don’t steer away from being bold, sticking to their guns and carrying on. Scaling back or being reticent is like admitting defeat and I’d encourage most businesses to start preparing as normal for 2019 and not circling back on themselves.

Let’s be clear, I’m not simply talking about walking around in a state of blissful ignorance, clearly Brexit is going to have deep effects, but believing in your product and adapting to succeed is key and always has been.

There are so many scaremongering articles and videos being produced and shared, almost irresponsibly, stating that Brexit is coming and that marketers and those in creative industries should do something ridiculous. This kind of talk could well be damaging and I and many others within marketing would like to see an end to it.

The reality is that we should be innovating regardless every single day, we shouldn’t change our messages and tactics through fear. You should always be thinking ahead and remaining original to be at the forefront and always striving to be market leaders.

Too many people are using Brexit as an excuse for something to worry about or to become less daring, especially when it comes to marketing. Rather than being conservative with marketing spend, maintaining momentum and forging ahead should be on everyone’s minds.

My one tip in a post-Brexit marketing world is to keep attacking, don’t get defensive.

One way to do this with ease is to look internally for the talent and ideas you already have. I’ve been encouraging many clients, especially within professional services to look at what they already have and to find who in their business could be what has been termed as a ‘key person of influence’. Find that one person who is an expert in their field and elevate their profile.

Put this person to work and use their strengths. Have them making blog posts, videos and encourage them to post all over social media channels. Get them to become more creative. Put them forward for podcasts as guests or even hosts, investigate speaking slots as a way to amplify your message and make them the go-to person in your area in order to see gains in 2019. This is a cost-effective, easy way to position yourself as experienced, knowledgeable and trusted influence in your sector.

Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have always been areas where the traditional is up against the modern in terms of marketing and PR. Those who are willing to diverge and rethink traditional marketing are the ones that are going to succeed as any effects of Brexit take place. 2019 should be seen as an opportunity, not simply a year to expect the worst.