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As Britain faces Brexit, leaving the EU is marketing departments’ number one concern: Poll

Brexit is marketing departments' top concern in 2017, with the recession closely following behind, according to a poll of British marketing experts released today.

As the U.K.'s political lawmakers debate the so-called Brexit bill in parliament this week, the process for Britain to leave the E.U. could begin as early as today, Tuesday. If Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50, London and Brussels will have two years to negotiate Britain leaving the E.U.

More than half (55 percent) of the 255 marketers surveyed online listed Brexit as their main worry for this year, with 47 percent saying a recession is a concern, according to "The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Marketers in 2017" report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Justin Tallis | AFP | Getty Images

Many marketers also expect to see companies capitalizing on "brand Britain" messages (54 percent) and 19 percent said they would be incorporating this into their marketing.

"At a time when Britain prepares to leave the European Union, and with increasing pressure on organisations to be proud to fly the Great Britain flag, that must surely put marketing front and centre in delivering a future-proof corporate identity?" the report states.

Brands behaving ethically

Around one in 10 (11 percent) said that their company being embroiled in a scandal is also a concern, while 87 percent think there is more pressure on brands to behave in an ethical manner.

This year has already seen businesses run ads that highlight moral or inclusive messages, including Hyatt, Stella Artois and Procter & Gamble, and 89 percent of those surveyed also said the internet and social media is giving consumers "more power to effect change over brands."

Marketers are also concerned about other factors affecting their brands' reputations, and want their departments to have a more central role in dealing with such concerns. Three-quarters say that operational decisions such as tax arrangements and working conditions are worries, but 95 percent agreed that marketing "needs to have a much stronger influence throughout an organization to shape ethical policies and protect brand reputation."

Marketers' concerns for 2017: the statistics

  • Brexit – 55 percent
  • Recession – 47 percent
  • External factors impacting brand reputation – 70 percent
  • Being a victim of a cyber-attack – 21 percent
  • Their brand being subject of a scandal – 11 percent
  • Making better use of data for personalisation – 50 percent
  • Losing market share to more tech-savvy companies – 28 percent

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