The Golden Globes was another big night for British talent, and we’re getting used to receiving accolades for series including Fleabag and The Crown, which have been hoovering up awards for months on end.
Sunday night’s 77th Golden Globes show also saw wins for other Brits, including Sam Mendes, Brian Cox, Sir Elton John and Taron Egerton, and of course it was hosted for the fifth time by English comedian Ricky Gervais (albeit to a mixed response!) In fact, we took home a whopping 40 per cent of prizes on the night – not bad for a small island.
If you’re a Brit in film-making or entertainment, you’ve never been more bankable across the world. So what does this mean for the rest of us? We’ve rounded up the lessons that British brands can take away from pop culture, and apply to business.
There are certain things the Brits are famed for – and apologies now if you thought it was Bond-levels of sexiness. Alas, it’s more that we’re socially awkward, hilarious (often inadvertently), overly formal and polite (disputable if you’ve ever been crammed into someone’s armpit on the tube) and generally uptight. Think a slightly less pantomime version of Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral (or most Hugh Grant roles).
Yes, it’s a stereotype, but it clearly contains some kernels of truth. On the downside, this may not make us sound very professional. On the plus side – it means people find many of our worst flaws utterly charming.
While I’m not suggesting you deliberately bluster and make mistakes, if, like many of us, you have a tendency to say the wrong thing or to make the odd joke that doesn’t land, don’t sweat it too much. Of course, always endeavour to be reliable, charming and relatable to clients – that’s just good business – but feel free to laugh at yourself if/when you make mistakes. Everyone does it, but you have the ‘get out of jail free’ card that comes with being a Brit. Just add in a line about being ‘typically British’ and, in general, all is forgiven.
Another lasting stereotype is the famously British dry sense of humour. There’s nothing more painful than someone trying to force funny (no one hires a legal team for their comedic input), again, it’s a case of – if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Obviously worth judging on a client-by-client basis, but sometimes an appropriate joke or a spot of tongue-in-cheek exaggeration can help you stick in people’s minds for the right reasons.
If you’re living and working abroad, or many of your clients are foreign, it can be easy to soften your accent to blend in (sometimes without your notice). But you could be making a mistake. A survey by CEOWORLD magazine ranked the British accent as the most attractive English-speaking accent in the world – somewhat surprisingly, it even beat Ireland. Something to remember next time you’re nervous about public speaking duties.
Do you have strong opinions about the weather? Congratulations – you’re British. It’s yet another painfully accurate stereotype, but when you break it down, it’s actually a super power.
Ok, so whether it’s raining or not might not be scintillating conversation, but it is a way of easing into more important topics, making people feel comfortable and not rubbing anyone up the wrong way.
There are a thousand creative ways of talking about the climate, whether you want to set a serious or humorous tone for a meeting. There’s a reason why we’ve used it as an opener for generations, and I reckon it’s here to stay. Much like this cold front we’ve been having lately…
It’s often said that we won two world wars thanks to the power of a fortifying cuppa, and I’m loath to argue. Tea is really just code for comforting hospitality, and it’s something we’re rightly proud of. Whether tea is your tipple of choice or not, making clients feel relaxed and welcome is something that Brits can do brilliantly. If you’re keen to highlight your Britishness to foreign clients, you could even consider having your own branded brew – a nice little gift to keep you in mind for future business.