Why there’s never been a better time for brands to help shape the future of the UK

In recent weeks, aside from COVID-19, the news agenda has been focused on the implications to the UK of the end of the Brexit Transition Period, and the Government’s efforts to exercise its new powers.

In his address to the nation on 31st January to make the end of the transition period, the Prime Minister hailed the dawn of a new era, one where the UK has the opportunity ‘to use these new powers – this recaptured sovereignty – to deliver the changes people voted for’.

The question for the Government is how they do this, and perhaps more importantly, how they show that they are doing this. Initial indications have seen a focus on changing the UK’s regulatory regime as a route to delivering this change.

From consultations on pesticides, to crop gene editing, agriculture appears to be an early focus. But we’ve also seen moves from the Government to cast a wider eye across the regulatory landscape, with the establishment the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR).

As with most things related to Brexit, this process will undoubtedly become the latest tug of war over competing narratives; Brexit advocates will point to the regulatory review as the best example of Britain ‘taking back control’. Meanwhile, those opposed to the UK’s exit from the EU will question why, if EU regulation had been so bad for Britain, these regulatory changes are not immediate and obvious, rather than requiring the creation of yet another new body to gather evidence and advice.

This latter point however, does provide an opportunity for business.

The Government wants to demonstrate very publicly that Brexit has brought the regulatory benefits long trumpeted. This means there has never have been a better time to ask for help with your regulatory challenges.

Of course, if your issue is linked to Brexit, all the better. But even if it is not, over the next few months, you will find a Government receptive to ideas on how to improve the business environment to fulfil its ambition of creating a ‘Global Britain’.  This agenda will remain critical as the Government continues to wrestle with the ongoing ramifications of COVID-19.

The big question is, how do you do this effectively? The Public Affairs team at Brands2Life has developed a four-step ABCD approach to ensuring that you are seen as a partner for government in these times of flux, opening up significant opportunities for your business.

A model of best practice:

As you approach stakeholders for support, they will be more receptive if it is clear that you are a company that does business the ‘right way’, be that through protecting consumers or making sustainability a priority. Communicate these initiatives to stakeholders as part of your outreach. Be proactive in explaining your work on these important priorities, and accrue the goodwill this generates.

Be part of the solution:

Develop your own ideas for how the Government’s ambitions can be met, and your regulatory challenge resolved, and proactively communicate them. But remember that other organisations will have needs as well – it is important that you’re seen as part of the solution, not another obstacle.

Create advocates:

As you raise your regulatory challenge with Government, look to build support for your position. Build relationships with key influencers, be that politicians, professional bodies or companies that share your challenge, so that they understand the value of suggestion and can amplify your voice.

Demonstrate you care:

Listen to the needs of government and other companies operating in your business space, and be seen to be responsive. It is crucial that you show that you are listening to the wider concerns and using that feedback to improve your regulatory suggestions. If you look like you don’t care what others are saying, others will quickly stop caring about you.

With the flux of the post Brexit period, there has never been a better time to raise a regulatory challenge with government, and find a solution to your business needs. If you’d like to have an informal chat with the Brands2Life Public Affairs team about a regulatory challenge you face, an opportunity you have spotted to advance ‘Global Britain’, or any other issue in the public policy space, get in touch on [email protected]

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Emily Reid