Rogue One: A Brexit Story

A rushed election engineered to further divide the country, further international referendums and growing fears, calling the fundamentals of democracy as we have known it into question.

Are brands the voice of reason in an increasingly fractious Brexit debate? asks Chloe Franses
Are brands the voice of reason in an increasingly fractious Brexit debate? asks Chloe Franses

Young people left out of debate and decisions that will inarguably impact their future… You take one bank holiday break and look what you come back to.

The general consensus is that the media is now more active in taking political sides than politicians are.

So debate lies limp, in a vacuum when it comes to genuine, informed discussions on what success post Brexit looks like.

For industries like communications, agriculture, hospitality – speculation is a-plenty, but debate cannot exist in an echo chamber.

Opinions and informed leadership are necessary.

In Gideon Rachman’s recent FT article "Amicable Brexit Divorce hinges on cash settlement", he muses about the dangers of a 'lose-lose' approach to the conscious uncoupling of the UK and EU.

The dangers of four factors – the shock to the UK of the cost of said divorce, the negotiation not being between two equals, the length of time it is drawn out over, eventually costing the UK any strong negotiation position and the finally, the bitter fall out of two sides wanting to hurt each other.

The question is – is there a better way?

Can brands become the leading light as the candles of hope are extinguished by politicians, like cigarettes on the backs of each other’s hands?

Chloe Franses, founder of Chloe Franses & Co

And can brands become the leading light as the candles of hope are extinguished by politicians, like cigarettes on the backs of each other’s hands?

Brands and their communicators have found ways to rally spirits even in the darkest times.

The public want to believe that there is someone they can trust giving them guidance – or at the very least, hope – whether that is in your washing-up liquid’s power to cut through grime or your therapist’s ability to lessen your need to check you locked the front door seven times.

As we enter our global divorce, should brands become the mediators?

The ones embracing change from a position of idea leadership – not waiting for the fallout, or ignoring the implications, but rather looking at how bridges can be created to avoid bitterness setting in and heels digging in.

If we use Rachman’s analogy, it is worth considering that the biggest bone of contention in divorces is frequently financial – not access, not tenure, not even faithfulness – but investment: investment into a future that is different, but in which no one wants the children to suffer.

Brands have the power to invest in that better world, to create the vision of a future upgraded, to establish guidelines and boundaries, but also inclusion and understanding.

So whilst the politicians battle out the vague lines of Article 50 and use the 8 June election to discredit each other further, let us celebrate brands like Ben & Jerry’s for finding creative ways to show people we are better together with their endearing and inspiring short film One Sweet World, let us cheer for Starbucks creating 10,000 new jobs for refugees, let us embrace L’Oréal and their campaign focused on the power of diversity.

These are the campaigns, which speak to the children of the Brexit divorce and remind them, that whilst the legal wranglings may last some time and the stones may continue to be thrown - those who care about their future, their economies, their education (and their basic ability to shop) are taking a stand and the brave ones are leading by making real investments into their virtual trust funds.

Chloe Franses is the founder of Chloe Franses & Co

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