Changing perspectives, with the UK’s international campaign brand
GREAT is the UK’s international campaign brand, proudly representing the outputs of our nation in over 140 countries. The premise of the GREAT campaign is to accentuate what’s great in Great Britain and Northern Ireland – to champion the UK’s diverse melting pot of thinkers, dreamers, and innovators. At Interbrand, our role was to help evolve GREAT so that it could better articulate the UK’s new place in the world. To help our country appear as a first-choice partner, and to reflect the vibrant spirit of modern Britain.
The GREAT team already had a wealth of insight into what the rest of the world thought about the UK: strong points, weak points, and firmly held stereotypes. And the previous brand utilised these insights – making statements about our nation’s greatness, with a campaign that showcased the UK’s strengths in innovation and creativity. So, it became apparent that the brand needed to shift its perspective to demonstrate that the UK is more than just a series of fantastic outputs. It needed to tell the human stories behind these outputs, and show how our country offers the perfect environment for creativity and innovation to thrive.
Through stakeholder interviews, we gathered key insights into the previous GREAT brand. And from these interviews came a sense of wanting a compelling and global-facing narrative that would speak for a modern UK. Something that could transcend politics while reigniting national pride.
Our challenge was to evolve, rather than replace the GREAT identity. An identity that is embedded across the HMG global network and that unites the UK’s international presence abroad – stretching from trade and tourism, to education and jobs. The audience? The rest of the world. And this already challenging task came with the added creative parameters of retaining the brand name and the globally recognisable Union Flag. So, we had to discover new ways to bring these to life, twisting the existing elements to create something fresh.
By pivoting the emphasis of GREAT’s messaging to ‘see things differently,’ we developed a headline construct that helped define a more innovative and progressive UK. What was before a one-dimensional statement of ‘XXX is Great,’ now contextualises what ‘Great XXX is’ and offers a chance to share untold stories and explain the UK’s view on the world.
And by staying true to this brand idea, we developed thought-provoking copy, fresh and modern photography, and striking design elements that make GREAT feel dynamic and future focused. It was important to use the Union Flag in the brand logo, in a way that felt irrefutably modern. So, we took inspiration from the “outward-looking country” described in the Prime Minister’s Global Britain manifesto, and reimagined the Union Flag with beams that reach out invitingly.
From visual identity testing, 77% of respondents perceived the new identity to have better stand out than the previous identity. What’s more, the new identity was preferred across all markets and audiences surveyed. So, while the GREAT brand is only at the beginning of its journey in rejuvenating the UK’s reputation, Interbrand have expertly positioned the brand and the nation for a more united, global future.