Monday,October 23 2017
How to survive the Brexit break-up

Cartoon Brexit concept - young couple holding split United Kingdom flag and EU flag

It is a break-up that has bewitched both tabloid newspaper editors and broadsheet commentators.

Pictures of people cuddling together in newly-found happiness, tearful statements of regret, angry recriminations, accusations and of course highly public social media take-downs.

But this is not the latest twist in the Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, Kanye and Kim saga.

It’s the country’s post-Brexit rollercoaster; with a national outpouring of emotion and behaviours that mirrors the stages of a relationship breakdown that psychologists have known for years.

First there’s confusion and a desperate need for answers; then denial and bargaining; followed by anger, slow early acceptance and then finally re-directed hope.

On June 22, most people went to bed expecting to wake up still married to the EU, for better or worse, amid promises from Brussels to listen more and try harder.  The shocked reaction to the Leave vote was immediate.

As the front pages and news bulletins splashed on the result, commentators were desperately searching for experts to explain what was happening.  David Cameron, jilted, resigned in tears after his promises of ‘better together’ had been rejected. And Boris Johnson and Michael Gove looked like they had shot a puppy when they appeared a few hours.

The country moved into denial. Some Brexiteers turned into Bregetters, claiming they’d never realised their vote counted. Other people insisted nothing really would change for a few years.

Denial quickly merged to bargaining as more than 4m people signed a petition for a second referendum.  In politics, Hilary Benn kick-started another Labour leadership crisis as as the latent anger boiled over. Michael Gove publically disembowelled Boris Johnson and the younger generation accused their elders of ruining their future as the Vote Leave promises on money for the NHS, on migration and access to the single market unravelled.

Then, after ten days of confusion, denial and anger, the situation started to sink in and the country moved into initial acceptance.

Theresa May, installed as favourite to be prime minister, was no-nonsense. ‘Brexit means Brexit’ she said, throwing cold water on hopes of a reverse. Business meanwhile had gone full circle, from threatening job losses and mass-migration to a more reflective stance that life has to go on.

The final stage of break-ups is re-directed hope. No, not a new Star Wars film but finding yourself able to look to the future with a little bit of optimism.

Theresa May again led the charge, promising ‘together we will build a better Britain.’ The FTSE 100 moved to new highs after the initial Brexit plunge and even the FTSE 250 is close to its pre-Brexit levels. Even the beleaguered Pound is slowly recovering some lost ground.

So what does this mean for the country, our leaders and for businesses as we embark on a new singleton lifestyle?

Well, psychologists are again on hand with some tips.

1. Don’t make any major decisions in the first few months – so Theresa May is wise not to trigger Article 50 until next year.

2. Avoid turning to food, drink and drugs for comfort. So far, over-looking Mark Carney’s initial shot of Dutch courage, the Bank of England and the Treasury have resisted the temptation to add monetary stimulus. They should stay their hand until they really need it.

3. As in most divorces, lawyers are starting to pick over the carcass of the relationship amid rows of who gets what and the rightful owners of long-forgotten purchases. Article 50 will be the UK’s divorce settlement and British businesses need to pay attention and make sure their interests are protected.

4. Perhaps most importantly, stay dignified, don’t get personal and keep to the moral high ground no matter the provocation. Don’t do a Calvin Harris and have an outburst, no matter how tempting.

5. Finally, don’t look at the past with rose-tinted glasses. The EU was far from perfect.

To return to Taylor Swift, “There are two ways you can go with pain. You can let it destroy you….or you can use it as fuel to drive you to dream bigger, work harder.”

Which is more optimistic than ‘we are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.’

Adam Powell, senior director, Ogilvy Public Relations, Corporate & Public Affairs 

 

 

 

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  • ABOUT US

    Ogilvy Public Relations drives influence at scale to effect change.

    We believe that to deliver commercial value and demonstrable change, we need to drive influence at an ever increasing scale. That means we encourage bigger, simple thinking to drive better results, by fostering a culture of permissive creativity, aggressive curiosity and smart collaboration.

    Ogilvy Public Relations/London is PRCA Large Consultancy of the Year 2013 + 2014

    Ogilvy Public Relations is the Holmes Report 2014 EAME Agency of the Year

    Ogilvy Public Relations is No1 in the Holmes Report 2013 + 2014 Global Creative Index

    OgilvyPR_Logos

     

    FOLLOW US: @OgilvyPRLondon

    INSTAGRAM US AT: OgilvyPRLondon

    VINE US AT: Ogilvy PR London

     

  • WHAT WE DO

    Our core offerings include:

    • BRAND MARKETING
    • MEDIA RELATIONS
    • SOCIAL MEDIA
    • B2B COMMUNICATIONS
    • INFLUENCER RELATIONS
    • CORPORATE REPUTATION
    • STRATEGY+ PLANNING
    • CONTENT CREATION
  • CONTACT US

    OGILVY PR LONDON
    Sea Containers, 18 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9RQ
    T: +44 (0) 20 3193 3000
    E: info@ogilvyprlondon.com

    For all new business enquiries, please contact:
    E: A.burns@ogilvy.com
    T: +44 (0) 7973673074

  • DIRECTIONS

    By Bike: 
    Dock your Bike at Milroy Walk, a 3 minute walk from Sea Containers
    By Tube:
    The nearest tube is Southwark (Jubilee Line), an 8 minute walk from Sea Containers. Alternatively Waterloo (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo & Waterloo & City) is 15 minutes walk.
    By Car:
    There is limited car parking near Sea Containers, if you wish to arrive by car please let us know.
    By Bus:
    There are many bus routes that operate around Sea Containers. We advise either using Google Maps or Transport For London’s journey planner to find the best route from your start point to our office.
    By Plane:
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    WORK FOR US

    Been tempted by what you’ve seen and want to be part of one of our world-class practices? To find out more on current opportunities please click here or send your CV and covering letter to Sara.Walpole@ogilvy.com