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#ConsumerCorner: Engaging audiences by embracing English heritage

St George's Day
By Harry Membrey
23 April 2024
Consumer Industries
Consumer Campaigns & B2B

Today – St George’s Day – brands have a unique opportunity to celebrate England’s rich history and cultural heritage. Dedicated to the patron saint reputed for his dragon-slaying legend, it offers a variety of promotional avenues to connect with both local and global audiences alike.

So why, then, has this day not historically resonated with the same fervour as other Catholic feast days? Just look at St Patrick’s Day, a celebration that sees recognition and devotion across the globe - jam packed with parades, dancing, and many different shades of green.

Perhaps it’s a collective sheepishness to confront what ‘Englishness’ means today, having been part of a United Kingdom for some time now. Maybe it’s the day’s lack of official holiday status dampening consumers’ parties. Or rather, people don’t quite believe that George really did slay that dragon.

But for those brands looking to make St George’s Day a prominent part of their annual calendar, there are ways to leverage this celebration of Englishness in ways that will connect with your target market and showcase the best of what England has to offer.

1 - Cultural Feast

Harness the occasion by highlighting products that embody English craftsmanship. Think artisanal goods, local produce, or heritage products. There’s a reason it’s often referred to as ‘the feast of St George’. So, restaurants and eateries, look to curate menus featuring traditional English dishes like roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, afternoon teas or more modern takes on old classics to draw in the foodie enthusiasts.

2 - Engagement

This is a day to deeply engage with communities. By organising local events or sponsoring festivities that bring people together, brands can celebrate the values that St George stood for – bravery, chivalry, and fortitude. Building these bonds is a fantastic way to give back to local communities and simultaneously showcase the rich cultural tapestry of England to a global audience, enhancing both local and international connections.

3 – Be Inclusive

England is at its best when it celebrates its multiculturalism. Engaging with St George’s Day is less about nationalism and more about sharing the widespread cultures that make England unique. A thoughtful approach ensures that the festivities are accessible and enjoyable for everyone, fostering a sense of community and shared appreciation for the rich heritage of England.

4 - Be Authentic

Thinking of posting that generic “Happy St George’s Day” social media post? Integrating it into your brand’s communication strategy should align with your identity and values. There’s little benefit in leveraging this occasion if it doesn’t resonate with who your brand or your consumers are. Any initiatives or messages decided upon for St George’s Day need to genuinely reflect your brand’s ethos, ensuring they stem from a place of genuine authenticity.

The challenge of St George’s Day lies in crafting messages that celebrate English heritage without alienating your market; engaging while respecting the diverse traditions that make up modern Britain. It might not be as widely celebrated as other days in the cultural calendar, but St George’s Day cans still be a fantastic opportunity for brands to celebrate a vibrant event that honours England’s past while embracing its present.