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On Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago Alan Johnson, our Secretary of State for Education rather stumbled through an explanation of Britishness, the new subject that Sir Keith Ajegbo is recommending we add to the school curriculum, but what he is really talking about, of course, is “Brand Britain”.

There are strong ones and weak ones, but all countries are brands and I have been talking about this for years in my Brand Discovery and Full Effect Marketing seminars and workshops. Australia and the US stand out as being particularly strong examples. The people of both relate closely to the image of the country, support it, and are proud and excited to be a member of and contributor to their national community and that’s exactly what brand communities are all about.

These countries invested years in internal marketing to achieve their current advantage and a key feature of my Full Effect Marketing is the suggestion that businesses should do the same.

Internal marketing is probably the most under funded, unappreciated and badly executed area of marketing, but there are two kinds of businesses these days – the quick and the dead and if you don’t want to be the latter you have to be constantly raising the bar. You are simply not going to do this unless you employees are committed and equipped to play their role in delivering your promise. And that’s what internal marketing will give you.

Keith Ajegbo seems to have a vision of his “Britishness” classes helping youngsters to understand what the community is all about and encouraging their buy-in. Most of all these lessons should help them to understand what they have to do to play their part in making Britain what we want it to be. I’m not sure who decided what it is that Britain should be, in my Brand Discovery programme that’s a decision everyone contributes to and ultimately I guess the citizens of Community Britain will do the same, but I’m with Ajegbo all the way if he has recognised that everyone has to understand the brand promise and have a clear view of what they have to do to make it real.

Because I spend many days each year helping organisations tackle exactly this issue, I know that the boards of a commercial enterprises rarely have a consistent and clear view of what their organisation’s promise is, but when they do the next job is always to make sure that their stakeholders understand it and are equipped and keen to deliver it. My advice to all my clients is reduce your investment in making promises to consumers and invest some instead in a well thought out campaign that will ensure you are able to deliver the goods because failure to deliver the brand promise costs an organisation much more than most people realise as I think we are beginning to recognise with Brand Britain.

Michael Weaver
December 11, 2007

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