Can the nation somehow unite around the values represented by Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S?

Our esteemed editor, Caron, returned yesterday from a very well earned holiday and, revitalised by sun-soaked walks on Rosemarkie Beach, underscored the party’s need not to “go wobbly on the EU“. She concluded:

The future prosperity of our country depends on us winning these hearts and minds and we need to get on with it. We need to provide the glue that helps this very divided country to come back together and solve the problems it faces.

According to research based on years of mass polling by YouGov, uniting the country could boil down to somehow responding to the common themes represented by four brands: Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S.

Based on affinities identified in the polling, Emily James, chief strategy officer at advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R says that the brands that are most likely to determine whether someone voted Leave or Remain in the referendum are:

Top 10 brands – Leave voters:

HP Sauce, Bisto, ITV News, The Health Lottery, Bird’s Eye, Iceland, Sky News, Cathedral City cheese, PG Tips and Richmond sausages.

Top 10 brands – Remain voters:, BBC iPlayer, Instagram, London Underground, Spotify, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Virgin Trains, Twitter and EasyJet.

On the face of it, these brand lists highlight the stark Leave/Remain division in the UK. On the one hand we have Brexiteers clinging to the “traditional, straightforward, simple, down-to-earth, good value and friendly”. On the other hand, we have remainers who are attracted to the “progressive, up-to-date, visionary, innovative, socially responsible” and “intelligent”.

However, the research highlights those four brands: Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S, whose values appeal to both remainers and leavers.

The commentary concludes:

They are all examples of brands that champion something of importance to a wide range of people – whether it is “being savvy”, protecting those who are vulnerable, or getting good quality at great prices.

All expertly navigate the seemingly paradoxical sets of behaviours set out above. For example: Money Saving Expert is both simple and intelligent in its advice and tone, while TK Maxx is traditional in its offer of designer brands, but innovative in its business model of giving mainstream access.

Examining people’s brand choices on each side of our divided nation can shed light on what might speak to the values close to the heart of each group. So, for a Government to genuinely bridge the cultural divide that runs so deep in our country, it might seek inspiration from the brands that already cross this chasm successfully. If the Government manages to set out a progressive, visionary and intelligent strategy, but deliver it in a simple, straightforward and down to earth manner, then maybe it really could be on the way to building One Nation Britain.

Perhaps such an approach might be sensible way forward, also, for the Liberal Democrats?

You can read more on this research here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • David Allen 22nd Aug '16 - 6:04pm

    The idea of being the party who can reunite Britain makes a lot of sense. Whether that can be done around Money Saving Expert I am less clear. It’s obvious that Remainers and Leavers alike don’t want to waste money, so I don’t think this unites people on any profound level!

    I think it would be better to seek the balance in terms of admitting that both sides got it wrong. Remain, led by Cameron, overblew the scare stories and ignored the real problems of the left behind. Leave didn’t have a clue how to demolish and rebuild all our trading relationships from scratch, and they still don’t. When Brexit falls apart, which it probably will, we need to have a better pitch to attract the ex-Leave voters – including a measure of immigration control.

  • Paul Murray 22nd Aug '16 - 6:57pm

    I believe that the “brand” stuff above is essentially bogus. The yougov profiler looks at data from people based on affinities and then bubbles those things to the top that are differentiated from the average values, known as a “Z score”. This can produce very strange results.

    For example applying the same logic as above, Yougov claims that the second favourite dish of fans of Fulham football club (amongst whom I have the misfortune to count myself) is lentil casserole. This is because 21% of the sample of 120 people who identified as Fulham supporters said they like it compared with just 3% of the overall population. Yet curiously, lentil casserole is not an option at the burger stall on the Riverside stand nor have I seen any demands for it on the supporters’ forum.

    As another example, the yougov profiler claims that the second favourite food of “fans of the European Commission” is green pea soup. Does that sound completely plausible?

    And fans of Tony Blackburn are considerably politically to the right of fans of UKIP. Well, maybe it’s right some of the time…

  • Hang on – are they saying Twitter is for intelligent people? I must be really thick, me.

  • How very depressing. No, we have liberal values which are attractive to many people. We just have to be much more passionate. Reducing everything to consumer speak really demeans what politics is about. Bigger picture please, bigger picture.

  • Barry Snelson 23rd Aug '16 - 11:49am

    remainers who are attracted to the “progressive, up-to-date, visionary, innovative, socially responsible” and “intelligent”.

    Although I am a devout remainer and downhearted over Brexit, I can sympathise with leavers, sometimes.

    This is the mother lode of metropolitan, elitist, smug arrogance and it was this contemptuous attitude of “we know better then you” that the remain camp subjected the leavers to (epitomised in the Rudd/Johnson bout) that pushed a game changing percentage of swing voters to Leave.

    Binding the wounds is a long way off if the solution is to order the leavers to eat more organic quinoa yoghurt.

  • Sue Sutherland 23rd Aug '16 - 12:57pm

    When I first read this I immediately thought of Harold Wilson. He talked about change and technology but he smoked a pipe and spoke in a northern accent, which were both unusual for politicians at that time, and he won the election.
    Yes we have attractive Liberal values but do we have progressive visionary policies to put them into practice? Or a progressive strategy? Too often we get bogged down by detail and what we think will appeal to most voters rather than selling our vision of a new type of society.
    Once we have this then we should be looking at ways to sell our ideas to people. How can we possibly bring our values into real life if we don’t? Quite often our literature sounds like something from the Guardian or Independent when most people are too busy to read something like that. We have had success with blue letters because they’re personal and direct and also with the Labour/Tories cannot win here because that’s accompanied by a simple graph. That’s marketing. So why is it so objectionable to use those techniques to sell our ideas? Quite honestly we’ll never win if we don’t.

  • Simon Banks 23rd Aug '16 - 3:22pm

    We might learn something about communication, but nothing about values or political programmes. To unite Leave and Remain people around the idea of practical clothing at a reasonable price is not to unite them around diversity, fairness, liberty, redistribution of income or a carbon neutral lifestyle. That is the difference, which economic liberals sometimes forget, between commerce and politics.

  • Denis Loretto 23rd Aug '16 - 5:44pm

    I know it’s August but Lib Dem Voice journalism doesn’t usually observe what we used to call the silly season.

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