How to thrive in a post-Brexit landscape

a year ago   •   3 min read

By Brian McDonnell

Brian McDonnell discusses our commerical landscape post Brexit and Covid-19.

 

How to thrive in a post-Brexit landscape

Brexit has been part of our commercial landscape since 2016. However, it’s a fair bet that SMEs will be recalibrating their businesses for a while to come as we deal with the challenges that have arisen as the UK departs from the EU.

While Covid-19 and lockdown are taking up a lot of our attention right now as business owners, Brexit remains a consideration that demands close attention.

The good news is that opportunities exist within the challenges. And with a robust strategy, you can leverage those opportunities for your own business.

The Guaranteed Irish branding campaign has done an enormous amount to increase the profiles of Irish businesses and build trust.

Here’s how to do that:

  • Listen to your customers – engaging regularly with your customers is always a good idea. Now, it’s even more important. 

If there are any silver linings to the last 13 months, where we, as a business community, have experienced a perfect storm of the pandemic and lockdown and Brexit, it’s that Irish consumers have become more invested in rallying behind Irish brands.

The Guaranteed Irish branding campaign has done an enormous amount to increase the profiles of Irish businesses and build trust.

Internationally, Irish products are also held in high regard for the level of quality.

Find out what else your customers would like from you. Is there a product they were getting from the UK which is now more difficult to obtain? Is that something you can help with? An example of how one Irish SME did this is included in the author bio at the foot of this 

  • Observe wider trends in your industry – following on from the earlier point, there may be new trends in your industry that you can adopt for your own business. For example, if you’re a food business, is there an opportunity to create a gluten-free or vegan range for your product line? 
  • Evaluate your marketing  – whether you are a product or service business, your marketing may need a tweak (or an overhaul) in this new era. 

Enterprise Ireland provides the following advice to Irish firms that are adjusting to different ways of doing business. “A brand that has worked until now in Ireland and the UK may not necessarily be effective in other markets. Brexit may require a rethink in terms of brand names and investment in a carefully researched re-branding strategy for companies planning to diversify into new international markets.”

Also, make sure that you’re communicating clearly about how your business is trading post-Brexit. Using the example of a food producer again, there could be a lot of scopes here to speak of your suppliers, your processes and your customer service ethos (as examples). This is the kind of content that people want to see on your social media channels and your website.

Don’t forget that brands are one of the ways humans make sense of the world. And brands connect to culture in a big way.

  • Look at your suppliers – it’s possible that many Irish businesses were doing this even before the UK left the European Union, but keep auditing your supply chain. You’ll need to approach this aspect of your business in a systematic way, but don’t miss out on the opportunity Brexit provides to find new and more efficient ways of doing things.

    In particular, as you respond to the feedback you receive from clients as you engage more frequently with them, you’ll discover new opportunities for your business to provide different products and services. As you conceptualise and bring these new offerings on-stream, explore new suppliers in Ireland to partner with you.

  • Go beyond Brexit – for business owners, Brexit is a commercial challenge to solve. That said, it’s also a political event and feelings have run high for both Remainers and Brexiters since the vote in 2016.

    Unless political commentary is a part of your brand voice, avoid making direct political statements in your communications about Brexit. Rather, communicate in an empathic way about things your customers want to hear about. You’ll know what that is through your close engagement with your clients.

 

Don’t forget that brands are one of the ways humans make sense of the world. And brands connect to culture in a big way. Just think of Ireland’s relationship with Lyons and Barry’s tea and you’ll immediately understand the role brands play in our human experience.

There’s no doubt that Brexit has introduced a seismic shift into the way we do business.

Acknowledge the changes you are making to your business in response to Brexit, but paint a bigger vision of where your company is going and how you’re taking your customers with you.

There’s no doubt that Brexit has introduced a seismic shift into the way we do business. Overcoming these challenges will take ingenuity and commitment. However, there is also the chance that Brexit could turn out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Ireland, as the only English-speaking country in the EU, has a lot to gain. As a business owner, keep your eye on the long-term and create a methodical plan to explore new avenues of business. 

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