Made in Digital Britain/ UK

Stuart Dempster, Director of the Strategic Content Alliance, writes on the potential for a national brand on UK-created or originated digital content

Could lessons from the past help deliver economic growth and enhance online reputational value for content creators contributing to the ‘digital economy’ in the UK today? Could a ‘Made in Digital Britain/UK’ help us demonstrate quality and value in a global market? Sure terms like ‘Britain’ and ‘UK’ are politically loaded terms it seems these days, but the variants cited above may provide a way in which either ‘UK PLC’ or the home nations could express their digital offer in a more compelling way.

 As we enter the second decade of the Digital Revolution, we see a propensity of policy and strategy reports highlighting the UK’s credentials for innovation and entrepreneurship through the exploitation of digital technologies, alongside disappointingly numerous impact and quality initiatives. Many of these originate from publicly funded agencies, all keen to stress their digital credentials. Yet, a simple ‘tag’ – graphic, metadata or other expression of ‘Made in Digital Britain/UK’ might help us stress the UK ’s unique contribution to this digital revolution in an increasing complex and cluttered online market.

Politicians and other policy makers might begin to see the ‘value proposition’ of digital content, whether it be games, multimedia or other assets being generated at an extraordinary rate in the UK as a measureable and valuable contribution towards a truly digital economy. This may be considered a ‘jingoistic’ or somehow part of a ‘new imperialism’, but if the UK is to succeed in this new paradigm and adopt affordable solutions to market its unique skills, expertise and knowledge in a global market, then perhaps the lessons of the 19th century might help inform the opportunities of the 21st century.

Needless to say, the term ‘Made in Digital Britain/UK’ (or home nation variants) might be applied selectively in the first instance to digital content originating from ‘assured suppliers’ in the public and private sectors perhaps? We would want this ‘trusted’ identifier to be considered the modern day equivalent to today’s ‘Rolls Royce’ rather than yesterdays ‘British Leyland’ in terms of international reputation.

We could envisage a raft of reasons why this tactic might be misguided, impossible to instigate or plain wrong, but just how many meetings, conferences or other resource intensive activity on ‘impact’ or ‘quality’ will we have to endure before we can offer the world a ‘trusted’ identifier that marks out what is truly ‘unique, valuable and difficult to emulate’ from the British (English, Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh perhaps) digital offer.