Marketing: 10 English brands that cut the mustard

Karen Lambert
Karen Lambert

Chief Happy

Happy St George’s Day

Today is England’s national day. England - a nation that loves to talk about the weather, are great at queuing, are known for their stiff upper lip and have a fondness for takeaways.

In homage to St George, we look at 10 English brands who we think are cutting the mustard, and use their example to pose a few marketing questions.



(Originally) from Norwich, England ….. Colman’s

One of the oldest food brands and famous for a limited range of products, nearly all of which are (you guessed it …) mustard related. Hot dog mustard, mild mustard, wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard to name a few. Having been manufacturing since 1814 it’s clear that they know a thing or two about creating a brand with longevity, and basing innovation on products they know intimately.


Marketing Takeaway: What you are you known for? How are you creating brand longevity? How do you innovate?


From London, England …. Wimbledon

It’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world and where talented athletes of the grass court create memories for fans around the globe.  Imagine being metres away from Bjorn Borg, Virginia Wade, Roger Federer and in earshot of a John McEnroe outburst. It’s an experience millions yearn for, and why tickets are mostly only issued via public ballot.  A ticket buys you more than a tennis match (or two) it buys an experience, not to mention access to the legendary strawberries & cream.


Marketing Takeaway: How would you rate the experience you give to customers? What do you do to wow customers?


From Birmingham, England … Crème Eggs

First manufactured in 1923 by the Cadbury Brothers (ooh these chocolate-creating siblings are one of our favourites) the crème egg is much anticipated (or is that just me?) and only circulated between New Year’s Day and Easter, creating a rather timely demand.


Marketing Takeaway: How are you using exclusivity in your marketing? What scarcity techniques does your marketing use?


From Lancashire, England …. Burnley Football Club

OK, I confess, this is purely personal, however, putting aside my love of claret and blue, pop a Burnley FC crest on almost anything and it will sell. Why? Because a fan’s attachment to the brand is so deep and powerful it makes purchasing decisions more emotional than rational. And it’s not just Burnley FC, it’s a behaviour duplicated across many other clubs.


Marketing Takeaway: What do you do to create adoring fans? Why do your customers buy? What are their main buying motives?


From Birmingham, England … Mini

Named “Car of the Century” in 1995, this stylish brand oozes personality. It’s a classic. Beautifully distinctive, the Mini was originally developed as a fuel economic car and has since adopted its own niche and endearing personality.


Marketing Takeaway: What is your brand personality? How consistent is your brand personality across all touchpoints?


From the seaside, North West England … Blackpool

Since the 18th Century tourists have travelled to the coast to improve wellbeing. As trends change so must a holiday destination adapt. Blackpool has reinvented itself more than once. Home to world-famous brands such as the Tower Ballroom, The Illuminations, The Winter Gardens, Stanley Park and The Pleasure Beach, and of course Happy Creative. Oh and having Blackpool Tower, a 518 foot tall icon, helps to get you noticed too.


Marketing Takeaway: How often is your product / service offer seriously reviewed? How do you stand out?


From Yorkshire, England …. After Eight

One of my favourites pastimes is eating After Eights. They’re a superb thinking fuel for me and whilst I prefer the original thins, they also come as straws, chocolate bunnies, biscuits, moose, advent calendars, easter eggs and even French Fancies. Yes, I’ve had them all, and will be a willing buyer for any new product extensions too.


Marketing Takeaway: What opportunities are there for product extensions in your organisation? How are you getting more market share?


From Northamptonshire, England …. Weetabix

In the 1990s these palm-sized wholegrain cereal biscuits had rather a catchy slogan … “Have you had your Weetabix?”. If someone who had eaten their Weetabix they’d be filled with unbeatable strength and energy. Such a powerful statement that it’s used in general parlance to signify strength or a willingness to tackle something substantial.


Marketing Takeaway: What’s your slogan? Do you have one? If not, what would it be?


From Cambridge, England …. Innocent

At a music festival in 1999, whilst selling their smoothies, the founders put up a sign asking people If they thought they should give up their jobs and make smoothies. They put a “Yes” bin and a “No” bin at the front of the stall and people voted with their empties. At the end of the weekend the “Yes” bin was full, so they resigned from their jobs and got cracking.


Marketing Takeaway: What are your customers telling you right now? When was the last time you asked your customers what they think?


From England the Patron Saint himself …. St George

England’s patron saint was widely known for his bravery and his selflessness. Turns out that his dragon didn’t arrive in legend until much later but there’s nothing like a hero to inspire courage and a move away from those comfortable slippers.


Marketing Takeaway: How does your brand take risks? How brave is your marketing? How long will your brand live on?


Happy St George’s Day.

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Further Reading:

Building brands
Understanding customers
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Karen Lambert is a career-long marketer with over 30 years marketing experience in regional, national and global organisations. She founded Happy Creative in 2005.



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