Brexit Brass Tacks - The certainties marketers can plan for, and what we still don't know

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What will Brexit mean for marketers? Alison Humphries cuts through the noise to establish what we already know - and what still remains unclear.

Brexit Brass Tacks – The certainties marketers can plan for, and what we still don’t know

Brexit is imminent, but many businesses are still feeling unprepared. Much of their attention has been focused on adapting their processes and operations around the pandemic while struggling to focus on and keep abreast of how Brexit will impact their export activities.

What we do know

Currently, 53% of UK exports are sent to Europe, 4% outside of the EU, 24% to Asia, 19% to North and South America and Canada, 2.3% to Africa and 1.5% to Oceania[1]. So far 21 trade agreements have been signed, which demand dependent, could offer opportunities with all previous non-EU, European trading partners, Japan and Ukraine amongst others. Negotiations are still underway with many countries including Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, and EU markets[2].

Scenario forecasting could help to establish whether your current export activity will continue to maintain the same level of profitability. For example, if EU exporters forecast how a no-deal Brexit could impact their revenue, this will help determine whether they need to look at alternative export opportunities to maintain profitability.

Customs Considerations

Logistics processes for EU exporters will change, as they will need to make customs declarations when sending out goods. They can do this themselves, but it is simpler to use a courier, freight forwarder, or customs agent[3]. They will also need to ensure that they have an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) to import and export goods.

Data protection - GDPR considerations

The aim is to make an adequacy agreement with the EU/EEA markets that will allow the continued free flow of personal data from these countries to the UK, as per the agreements already made with 11 non-EU countries so far. Should this not be the case, businesses will need to prepare to make Standard Contractual Clauses with EU counterparts to legitimately receive personal data[4].

Rules and Regulations

Businesses will need to review all relevant areas of legislation to ensure continued compliance. Core considerations include trademarks, the eCommerce Directive, and Conformity assessments (CE marks).

EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered and Unregistered Community Designs will no longer be valid in the UK post Brexit, but businesses holding these will receive a comparable UK trademark free of charge. EUTM applications will not benefit from this allowance[5].

The eCommerce Directive will no longer be applicable in the UK, so companies providing online services will no longer be able to benefit from operating in alignment with the rules and only seeking to obtain prior permission to start operations from the country they originate from. They will need to review and comply with the national legislation in each country they export to.

Conformity assessments (CE marks) carried out by UK conformity assessment bodies will no longer be valid in EU countries, so exporters will need to apply for certificates from an EU conformity assessor to ensure proof of compliance to continue to export.

Until 1st January 2022, products with CE marks carried out by EU conformity assessors can continue to be sold on the UK market. However, all products must carry the new UKCS (UK Conformity Assessed Mark) by this date[6].

Post Brexit Marketing

Digital Marketing is a quick route to entry into new markets and products like Facebook’s Cross Border Business offering algorithmically driven localisation of ad content ease and reduce the costs of promotional activity while the Fulfilment by Amazon service eases the logistics process.

Researching how your target market reacts in the face of major economic changes will be vital to inform the focus of your message to ensure your message is aligned effectively with consumer expectations to deliver the greatest impact.

Building a checklist of key activities to prepare for Brexit will be vital to ensure the process is as smooth as possible to encompass all areas from costs and tariffs to Marketing planning.

This article appears in the 2021 Digital Marketer's Playbook, a new, free 96-page guide in which ClickThrough's marketing experts share their thoughts on how to create a flexible marketing strategy for 2021. Get your free copy here.

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