The ‘Made in Britain’ Brand

By Mash Bonigala

With low cost goods from Asia and Eastern Europe flooding the market in the UK, British companies know well that they need a way to distinguish themselves from the competition. One way of doing this has been the ‘British Made for Quality’ hallmark, which was formed several years ago to indicate that the product in question was local and therefore, made to local standards. However, what makes up this ‘Made in Britain’ brand? Is it a brand that inspired customers to buy, even at higher prices?

The British Made for Quality, or BMFQ, logo design is distinctly British. The familiar Union Jack shapes and colours are seen formed into an image of a bird, representing freedom and achieving new heights. The lettering is bold and highly readable, but extremely plain. The message is that this is a straightforward organisation with a distinct British heritage, which is exactly the image that it is trying to project with this logo design.

Many business owners are eager to throw themselves behind any proposal that promises to boost sales. However, there are a few problems with this scheme. First, there may be problems with the EU, which bans marketing initiatives that discriminate against EU products based on point of origin alone. The National Farmer’s Union encountered this legal issue with their Red Tractor logo. The solution was that the seal would be extended to foods that met British standards, rather than solely foods originating in the UK. The British Standard’s Institution’s mark is similarly available to non-British goods. However, BMFQ is determined not to make this sort of compromise.

One key fact that companies who are seeking a ‘Made in Britain’ certification of any kind may ignore is that these types of marks are commonplace. Consumers in the UK see so many labels on their products that one more may not have the desired impact, even with an attractive and appropriate logo design. With this glut of marketing messages, the best way to differentiate your products from the competition remains to offer consistently high quality and a winning brand image.

Another strike against the BMFQ label is a general acceptance of foreign goods. With many people now accustomed to drinking a French wine with an Italian meal on a table made in Germany, choosing place of origin as a key brand value may not resonate with internationally minded people in the UK.

Will this marketing scheme be successful? Only the future will tell. Many people can remember the ‘I’m Backing Britain’ campaign of the late sixties. This campaign did not focus on labelling so much as generally stirring up national pride and support for local UK products. The campaign began to diminish when it was made public that many ‘I’m Backing Britain’ items had been in fact manufactured outside of the country. Hopefully this marketing brand can avoid the same disastrous fate. Until then, we will be seeing the BMFQ logo design on products all over the country as a symbol of British quality and pride.