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Aligning your communications to the new Industrial Strategy

It’s now been over a year since the UK Government published their industrial strategy white paper, ‘Building a Britain fit for the future’, on 27 November 2017.

The Industrial Strategy is a key document which is setting out the future for the UK and how the government can support businesses to create jobs, increase earning potential for employees and invest in skills, industries and infrastructure.

The industrial strategy has provided businesses with a great opportunity to embed the key themes of the strategy in communications which supports the national strategy.

If you’re a business outside London, then you can really make an impact through effective communications, as the paper looks more at national growth rather than just in the capital. The strategy’s interactive map can show you how your region is doing. Getting on the map is another great way to increase brand awareness.

“Too many of the UK’s cities outside the capital underperform against the national average”

Industrial Strategy, Page 19

Even if your business doesn’t do everything that is included in the industry strategy, there are still opportunities to link back to it. Any large strategy like this can provide a fantastic opportunity to capitalise of the press and media attention that comes with a national strategy.

Firstly it is useful to make yourself aware of the five foundations of the strategy:

  • Ideas: the world’s most innovative economy
  • People: good jobs and greater earning power for all
  • Infrastructure: a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure
  • Business Environment: the best place to start and grow a business
  • Places: prosperous communities across the UK.
Five Foundations video – Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

There are already things that any business can get involved in, or at least link to their current operations.

Maybe you’re an innovative company that focusses on developing products; you could include content about how your business has used British expertise and talent to transform an idea into an internationally renowned product or service. Increasing awareness of your business could also mean that you attract attention and potential funding from the £725 million, that has been stated in the strategy, for the Industrial Strategy’s ‘Challenge Fund’.

InnovateUK’s call for ideas for a share of a £2 million Business Basics Fund

Or does your business invest in its staff? Can you share your learning and development strategy so that you are equipping your staff with the skills that industry needs for the next 20 years? Maybe you’re investing in staff by paying the national living wage, far exceeding how your competitors pay? These are all things that you’re doing right now that you need to share. The Government have stated they want to invest £406 million in STEM skills and introduce a retraining scheme for staff who need to be trained in digital and construction.

Or do you support the local community? How does your business give back to the community it resides within? This is a great place to not only give back to the local people where you operate, but also generate content surrounding how your business makes an impact locally, nationally and internationally. There’s £1.7 billion set aside for intra-city transport therefore your work and business awareness could mean that your local community could attract funding driving connections within city regions.

Finally, the strategy also has set aside £20 billion worth of investment in innovative and high potential businesses. Increasing your brand awareness through effective content could actually lead to investment especially if your business can contribute to the success of the strategy.

Do you operate within the Grand Challenges?

  • AI & Data Economy – we will put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution
  • Clean Growth – we will maximise the advantages for the UK industry from the global shift to clean growth
  • Future of Mobility – we will become a world leader in the way people, good and services move
  • Ageing Society – we will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society

So how can your business link back to these grand challenges? No matter what business you work for, there is definitely something that you can talk about when it comes to the Grand Challenges.

Example of how an organisation is linking new products to the Industrial Strategy

The paper suggests that AI could add £232 billion to the UK economy by 2030 and your business may already be doing something about it. Have you been introducing AI into your processes or are you using big data to generate insights and innovation? If you are then you need to be talking about it.

Maybe you’re operating your business with low carbon emissions? Again, if you’ve made changes to how you trade so that you make less of a negative impact to the environment, then this is amazing content that you can talk about in news pieces, your CSR report or even in press releases.

Finally, the UK’s ageing populations are going to create new demands for technologies, products and services. Is your business doing something to counteract this demand? Think about how your business can contribute to the ageing society challenge.

Obviously you won’t be able to do everything, but you need to understand the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy could provide you with a fantastic opportunity for content, as well as an opportunity to enhance the business your work for.

“Partnership is at the heart of our approach. We are in discussions with businesses, devolved administrations, city regions and Local Enterprise Partnerships about how we support communities to thrive.”

Industrial Strategy, Page 242

Some organisations, especially ones that have a large impact on many economies and communities have developed responses to the strategy. This is a great way for your business to show how you plan to, or are currently making, an impact in line with the Industrial Strategy.

You should consider joined up communications plans with local partners including local government, education providers and your Local Enterprise Partnership. These public and semi-public bodies will be well-versed in the Industrial Strategy and what’s its impact will be for the region. Partnering with these bodies will enable your business to have the greatest impact.

Print a copy of the Industrial Strategy, keep it on your desk and think how you can link back to it with everything you do. You might even just benefit from some of the funding available!

If you have any comments or areas that you think I have missed, please do let me know.

Follow me on Twitter for more updates . . . @BradTheCommsGuy


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