University of Bath

Revitalising UK manufacturing’s image through brand-driven value

An IPR Policy Brief examining the shifting perceptions of manufacturing and the hurdles that must be overcome if a rebalancing strategy is to succeed.

Following the global financial crisis in 2008, policy makers, realising the need to rebalance the economy, began looking towards the manufacturing sector and industrial policy. However, the sector must improve its image if the rebalancing strategy is to succeed. Research by Professor Michael Beverland, Beverley Nielsen and Vicky Pryce argues that the key to shifting perceptions of manufacturing is to reframe the sector as part of the ‘making’ economy (which includes the creative sector and industrial design, for example). Drawing from the experience of the West Midlands (the home of UK manufacturing), the authors identify that the pursuit of brand-driven value underpins the success of UK manufacturers. Pursuing brand-driven value influences choices about what, where and how to innovate (giving rise to multiple innovation pathways), draws on and contributes to complex business ecosystems, and is part of a strategy to shape or take control over the business environment.