Seventh anniversary of the GREAT campaign: Three billion reasons to be cheerful

The government is celebrating the continuing success of its GREAT campaign, which was launched by David Cameron in September 2011 in a bid to capitalise on the 2012 London Olympics and provide a £1 billion boost for British business.

The Government claims that 'GREAT' is it's most successful international campaign ever
The Government claims that 'GREAT' is it's most successful international campaign ever

The campaign has far exceeded expectations, resulting in a £3.4bn economic return to date in what the government claims is its most successful international campaign ever.

In the past seven years the campaign has received 53 awards, been praised by the National Audit Office and helped increase interest from people overseas wanting to visit, study and do business with the UK.

The GREAT brand is valued at £271m, according to a recent independent assessment by valuation experts Brand Finance.

The campaign brings together the Department for International Trade, VisitBritain, British Council, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 17 other government departments and organisations, and hundreds of private sector companies.

Last year the campaign supported more than 1,000 events and activities in almost 200 locations worldwide, according to a news release issued by the Department for International Trade to celebrate GREAT’s seventh birthday.

More than 600 businesses and high-profile individuals are backing the campaign with funding, sponsored activity and active support.

The GREAT campaign has a return on investment of 20:1 and on top of the £3.4bn it has already helped secure in economic returns to Britain, an additional £3.3bn is currently being appraised.

It showcases Britain to encourage people overseas visit, study and do business here - with the key message being that Britain is open for business and outward looking.

A number of different specific campaigns are run under the GREAT brand, promoting everything from tourism and education to trade and investment. Target audiences range from ultra-high net worth individuals to students and potential purchasers of British goods and services.

Conrad Bird CBE, director of the GREAT campaign, said: "GREAT is a highly visible, powerful campaign which delivers a tangible economic return for the UK."

"As we look ahead to the next 7 years, we will capitalise on the campaign’s success to date by improving global perceptions of the UK, helping to increase levels of trade, investment, tourism and high-quality students," he added.

Bird was more direct in a new book, 100 Years of Government Communications, published last week, where he dubbed the GREAT campaign as "slightly counter cultural" in that "the British psyche can be modest and self–deprecating and our favourite word is often ‘sorry’." However, when competing globally, "if you don’t dial it up, you’ll be ignored," he added.

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