Spendit for Brexit

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Why companies outside of the L+D industry are doubling their marketing spend.

Within our marketing company we have found a number of interesting responses to Brexit. The most notable is the difference in reaction from the learning and development providers to ‘other’ sectors. In the week following the results two things happened (1) all our ‘other’ clients more than doubled their marketing spend immediately and (2) all our learning and development clients put their project planning on pause.

At first this distinct difference in behaviour was a surprise, so I started to enquire within multiple sectors. Our ‘other’ clients are riding the Brexit wave. They know that if they look unstable at the moment it will cost them business. They also expect that in sight of a potential recession, they want to be seen as the strong brand to be relied on.

Ten days after the announcement of Brexit, one of these ‘other’ clients, in the motor industry, was given a significant investment for the development of a new department. This investor had taken their money out of a company faltering in its conviction and moved it to a company they believed would survive the changes that are coming.

The examples I encountered provided a clear reason to respond to uncertainty by actively forging your path with conviction.

When I started talking to learning providers about their experiences at the Learning Providers Connect (LPC) run by the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) this month, I had a significantly different response. There was uncertainty, there was a sense of pausing to find out what would happen. Most significantly there was an underlying fear of loss of sales. One member explained that he felt it was because we are averse to uncertainty. Also stating that it was the industry culture. When all the learning providers behave in such a way, the few that don’t will stand out and look successful, established and strong.

Only time will really tell us the full impact of recent events. However the risk aversion nature of the industry is clear and I am not convinced that it is the right response for everyone.

Issy (Isobel) Nancarrow

Founder and MD of Nancarrow Partnerships and Campaign Learning.

Consultant, The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI)

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