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Brands could play post-Brexit role

News, 12 July 2016

LONDON: As the UK gropes towards political stability, brands may have a role to play in reassuring consumers in the post-Brexit environment an industry figure has said.

Toby Hoare, CEO of JWT Europe was speaking as he released the details of a new survey of 1,000 people exploring their attitudes towards brands in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union.

Seven in ten respondents felt that brands could play a vital role in educating them on what Brexit means for their products and services, Campaign reported.

Brands, Hoare said, can "play a massive role in abating some of the obvious fears that a huge number of consumers have by educating them – in all manner of areas".

"This could be a huge opportunity. Those companies which position themselves as open, progressive and wanting to help customers navigate these choppy waters will be the ones which consumers want to associate with, and buy into."

British brands may gain a domestic boost, City AM noted, as 57% of respondents felt there would be more interest in "buying British", but there is also a risk such bands will be viewed differently overseas.

One of the main concerns to emerge from the survey was that prices would have to rise, and Hoare advised that if companies do have to put their prices up, "communications should be a top priority".

Meanwhile, new data from Barclaycard, the credit card business, indicates that consumers have, so far, "avoided a knee-jerk reaction to the Brexit vote".

It noted a 2.14% increase in week-on-week spending in the seven days after the vote. This period also coincided with the payment of monthly salaries for many people so spending will tend to rise in any case, although spending in pubs and restaurants was slightly down.

A survey of more than 1,700 people conducted on July 5 and July 6 on behalf of Barclaycard found 52% expected to see no impact on their household finances as a result of the vote, compared to a figure of 39% when a similar poll was carried out between June 24 and June 28.

While that suggests confidence has increased in the short term, four in 10 (43%) consumers expected their household finances to deteriorate as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU; and of these 76% think the UK will return to a recession.

Data sourced from Campaign, City AM, Barclaycard; additional content by Warc staff