Saying Tata to old attitudes
In Britain, we’re obsessed with our former global glory. As the birthplace of a number globally loved brands, we certainly had a golden period in the growth of the world’s economy and we’re not shy to mention it.
But I can’t help but feel we’re spreading ourselves too thinly. We try to be all things to all people (businesses, countries, institutions) and in a bid to regain our global prestige and as importantly to find growth.
We pride ourselves on being the home of innovation, but we’re too eager to give away our resources in return for short-term validation and are at risk of undermining ourselves.
We need to pick our battles, re-invent ourselves as a challenger brand and use our new sources of competitive advantage to take back our place on the global stage.
These include an open economy, expertise in marketing and finance, language, our time zone, proximity to Europe, our relationship with the US – and most importantly, our cultural connections with the Commonwealth.
This ‘cultural exchange’ can be the power that drives the British Economic recovery.
Europe may be our biggest marketplace but it isn’t growing. It also has become weary with out idiosyncrasy and outspoken views. The points of difference between what we can offer Europe relative to what Europe can do for itself is getting small.
We should focus on our ‘Commonwealth Hinterland’ as the engine room of growth opportunity. Our traditional ‘cultural transactions’ should focus on enabling and facilitating the long term fortunes of our Commonwealth trading partners, leveraging our science and tech industry, our financial services industry, and just as importantly, our marketing industry.
Nowhere is this more potentially powerful at the moment than our relationship with India.
Tata is now Britain’s biggest manufacturer, with over 40,000 industrial employees. It owns, among other things, Tetley Tea, Corus (formerly British Steel), and Jaguar Land Rover.
It’s a perfect partnership.
They like us, they respect our past and they have a history and culture that is intertwined with our present day.
We should be looking to giants like Tata as role models to position Britain as a gateway for growth.