A Fearless Brexit (Part Four): Making It Happen


This week’s blog is the penultimate in our Unframing Brexit series. By the end of this post we will be 4/5ths of the way towards unilaterally solving the UK’s complex political stalemate using our proprietary process – and in order to do that, we need to do what the government has, so far, failed to do. We need to Make It Happen.

Making It Happen means taking the change-making solutions from Stage Three (Create Change) and, well, doing them.

If we have decided, during the Create Change phase, that Brexit is an opportunity to unite the nation, not divide it, then Making It Happen means translating this into action.

Half of the country is desperate to see movement on the Brexit front, and the other half, increasingly weary, is divided between fighting for a second referendum and thinking ‘just get it over with.’ In other words, there is a strong consumer need for Brexit. And like launching a product or service, timing is everything. We must be ready to seize our opportunity at the right moment.

The stage is set for the UK to make Brexit happen, but we need a definitive, decisive plan. Even if we had successfully done the first three stages of this process, and come up with a perfect strategy, how do we turn it into reality?

The answer is by creating new brands, partnerships, products, services, go-to-market strategies, creative executions, tech platforms. Connecting the dots between the vision we have in our minds with how consumers will experience them.

For example, what if we were to partner with the BBC to create a permanent new TV channel, in which UK citizens at home and abroad are consistently informed about statistics, data and impartial truths of Brexit, to help citizens feel informed and inspired?

Or rebranding Brexit to focus away from traditional patriotism (which alienates many younger British people) and instead creating a new vision of sovereignty that we can all agree on, on all sides of the political compass. Our imagery would be less bunting and bulldogs, more neutral and modern.

Our messaging could suggest that Brexit is a time to “take control”, not of partisan issues like immigration, but of our future – a chance to decide what kind of country we want to be.

Perhaps this would involve a series of online “micro-referendums” which offer a list of specific issues of national importance, from social to environmental, local and regional, which we can all vote towards to help steer Britain through its newly-gained independence. This helps give people a sense of control, a stake in their future during a time when everything feels out of control and the future, to many, seems bleak.

There is no way of pleasing two diametrically opposed ends of the political spectrum, granted, but we could at least move towards a neutral territory that focuses on control and empowerment, so we can all feel we’re steering the ship together.

This probably won’t be achieved simply with messaging – change requires innovative, wide-ranging solutions. Making It Happen essentially means refining the nuts and bolts of these solutions, figuring out how they look and feel and how they’ll be implemented.

After all, change is hard. It can be a shock to the system. In order to create meaningful new opportunities, sometimes you have to throw away the idea of “the done thing” and do things in surprising, different ways – but only with careful implementation can the benefits outweigh any potential disruption.

As the current turmoil attests, we aren’t doing a very good job of changing mindsets for Brexit – one half of the country is frustrated that nothing has happened yet, the other is still fearful that the idea itself is flawed. This is a perfect example of the system-shock that can come from a big change – but there is still a huge opportunity to use change for good.

Things need to be calibrated and configured to segue smoothly, from concept to execution, without too much disruption. A truly successful Brexit – or, indeed, an unsuccessful one – will likely be a huge step-change, and the day-to-day running of the country must be subject to minimum impact as these changes happen.

We suspect that, if Cameron’s government had been more rigorous in its early stages, then May’s task would prove a lot less chaotic and divisive now, and there could be greater focus on making sure that these inevitable changes are positive. The two year period commencing from Article 50 is almost up, shoving us into a cycle of uncertainty and ad-hoc deadline pushbacks, and the government is still floundering.

That’s because Making It Happen isn’t easy. Only by carefully aligning ducks in a row can any organisation begin to take real action.

Brexit is a lesson, in some ways, to all businesses: change is going to happen at some point, sometimes suddenly and irrevocably. It’s best to be prepared, because there will come a point where your business has to adapt to it.

If only the government had the solidarity, the vision, the mandate and the courage to rewrite the country’s future and turn Brexit into a positive statement of empowerment for the whole country, not simply a disenfranchised half.