Category: Capital Markets

Advice from an Apprentice – it’s tough, but you’re tougher

By Emilio Koumis, Apprentice

Picture this – it’s the final few months before your A Level exams. Not only are you nervous, sleep deprived and quite frankly fed up, but your plans for the future are a complete and utter mystery. This was exactly how I felt, and so did thousands of other Year 13 students across the UK, according to a recent study looking at how exam stress affects students.

It really wasn’t until the month before my exams that things started to fall in place. And for those reading who are currently in a similar situation, just hang on. Things will eventually work out.

Swooping in, like a giant mystical unicorn, coming to save me from all my troubles and worries, was the Aspectus Academy apprenticeship scheme. My career adviser (who I would recommend building a good relationship with if you have the opportunity) sent me this interesting role. As I begun reading through, I finally began to feel hopeful. This was it. This was exactly the type of role that I had been looking for.

PR and marketing had always been of interest to me, and I had finally found a company that I could see myself fitting into and excelling in. This was a perfect example of ‘going with your gut instinct’.

Don’t be disheartened

Of course, there will be times when you may not hear back from certain companies you apply to, or in some cases, make it so far into the interview stages, only to be told you didn’t get the role and that “you’re just not the type of person we are looking for.”

Fortunately for me, during the interview process at Aspectus, they were extremely helpful, and never made me wait longer than 24 hours for a reply when I had any questions.

What to expect once you get the role (and you will)

From a young age, I had dreamt of working in the city. I would imagine myself in an expensive suit, on the train commuting to a big office, and eating lunch at fancy restaurants. Sure, I don’t actually wear an expensive suit to work every day and the only thing I have waiting for me on the train is the usual, and quite unpleasant, smell of sweaty commuters (of which I could be one myself!) But that’s not the point. The point is, I had an image in my head of what I wanted my life to look like and that helped me find what I wanted to do. I stayed positive, which leads me on to my final point.

Staying Positive

Working at Aspectus, it’s difficult not to be positive. How can you not be when you’re surrounded by enthusiastic, happy, and hardworking people? I haven’t been at the company for long but the culture and atmosphere in the office is admirable. Here, there is no such thing as a ‘bad social media post’ or a ‘failed attempt at gaining a journalist’s attention’. These are all opportunities for us to learn and grow as individuals and develop as a team. If one opportunity didn’t go as well as you would have liked It to, it’s okay! The next might well be the perfect one. Try adopting this mindset when applying for apprenticeships too. If one doesn’t go to plan, the next one might go exactly your way. Always stay positive.

Persistence Pays

Searching, finding, and applying for an apprenticeship can be difficult. Building a good relationship with anyone who you believe can help make the process easier is worth it.  If you have access to a career adviser, use them! These people are here to help you.

Finding out you haven’t made it to the next stage of an interview can be very demotivating. However, there are some positives you can take out of it. Think about the experience you have just gained. Now you know what an interview process looks like so you’re able to be much more prepared for your next one. You may have realised that it’s not as daunting as you might have initially thought and therefore next time, you’ll be more confident. If you’d like some in-depth tips on how to ace an interview, give this a read.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius

In other words, keep trying! Continuing to actively look for apprenticeships even after being turned down is a great achievement in itself. If you have found your way to this blog, that already demonstrates your proactiveness.

The apprenticeship search: it can be tough, but you’re tougher.

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How to write a brief for a brand and marketing agency

By Ellie Jackson, Head of Brand, Insights and Strategy 

Nothing has made me question my ability to write a brief like having small children. 

Bear with me here. I’m not for one second comparing the recipients of briefs I write to my 1- and 4- year-old offspring. But where once I thought I was pretty clear in my translation of objectives, clarity of direction and indication of priorities, scenes in our house in the hour before nursery and school drop off suggest otherwise. 

And writing a brief for a brand, marketing and communications agency is rather more complicated than getting small people clothed, fed, brushed, shod and out. But the real trouble, as highlighted in research last year as part of the Better Briefs project, is the divergence between those marketers that think they write good briefs (80%), and the creative agencies that receive them (10%). 

Historically one of our best-performing pieces of content was a post about how to write a good brief, but since it’s more than a decade old we thought it was well-overdue for a review, and since I recognize my own limitations, I’ve enlisted various colleagues representing different Aspectus services to offer up their insights in addition to mine. 

Fundamentally though, the agency needs to understand two things: where you are now, and where you want to get to. But it’s also really useful to understand what you’ve tried before, what’s worked and what hasn’t. Most of all, we appreciate a relatively open brief: tell us the problem and by all means suggest your response, but don’t lock us into rigid tactics. Let the agency use their experience and insights develop their own solution. 

Bill Penn, Aspectus Chairman, added: “The brief is really important. So, make sure you have business and communications objectives that are clear and agreed, and led by someone who fully understands those objectives and knows how agencies operate. 

“Be targeted. Even if your product or service could be used by several different audiences, you still need to focus to see results. Most agencies will push you to prioritise, so you need to work out your strategy internally in advance.  

“You will need to ring-fence a budget. Agencies hate briefs without clear budgets and you will never get the best from their pitches if you leave the matter completely open-ended. It’s a bit like walking into a showroom and telling the sales guy you want to buy a car and letting him guess how much you want to spend. Not awfully helpful to either of you. Are you after a Ferrari or a Mini? 

“Invite all agencies for an initial meeting or call. This gives you a chance to meet them and they get the opportunity to discuss the brief in more detail and ask questions. 

“Work out in advance a system for assessing the presentations – and keep those presentations to a maximum of three agencies. Think in terms of focusing on the following: capabilities and experience; quality of ideas; quality of team; enthusiasm; response to questions. Be clear with the agencies on both the process and the decision factors. 

“Once you have made your decision, tell the winning agency first (just in case they find a reason why they cannot or don’t want to work with you – it does happen) and then inform the others. Do make sure that you give plenty of feedback to the losing agencies. The very least they deserve for all their hard work is the opportunity to know where they went wrong or simply why the winning agency was selected.” 

Ed Wilkins, Head of Design and UX, said: “Brand guidelines are a hugely valuable asset, but it’s essential to communicate your relationship with them to avoid unhelpful assumptions being made. This works both ways. There have been many a time where a client has wondered why we’ve shown creative flair when all they wanted is something very close to the examples already included, and others where the guidelines were meant to be a mere suggestion. Even being surprised at the inclusion of their own colours.” 

“Never be afraid to share something you’ve seen and liked. It’s easy to worry that your agency will only replicate a shared example, but these are one of the best ways for designers to understand your thinking. They spark more in-depth initial conversations around your likes, dislikes and why you feel that way. It should also then allow your agency to give some early indications of how ideas can be reinvented to suit the project at hand before putting pen to paper. This means a much more effective use of your scoped design time.” 

Anna Fishlock, co-head of Digital, added: “It’s often helpful for agencies to know key website stats, for example, top-performing pages, where your traffic tends to come from, and your bounce rate. With this information we can usually get a good understanding of the health of your website. Also, don’t forget to share your SEO keywords or let the agency know if this is an area where you might need additional support.  

If your website isn’t performing, don’t let this be a reason to not start PR and marketing altogether. With new B2B website projects often taking several months to complete, you’ll lose vital brand awareness if you stop running campaigns. Instead share this information with your agency so they can work around it and ensure you don’t lose visibility amongst your target audience.” 

Shelley Bowdler-Olagbaiye, co-head of Digital, said: “We always want to know the bigger picture: what are your marketing objectives, overarching business goals and why are you looking for an agency now? Marketing is the fuel for growth, so knowing your purpose and vision means we can build a programme that projects you in the right direction. 

“Writing a great agency brief is an art in itself, so talk us through your challenges and we can help you find the best digital and integrated solutions. The best client agency-relationships are collaborative – and for us, that starts from the first conversation.” 

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Four chancellors and a funeral: navigating communications and the media

By Thamsia Salam, Account Executive on the Financial Services team

Even those who ‘don’t do politics’ or barely touch a newspaper, won’t have been able to avoid the turmoil that has surrounded the UK during the last six months. The Ukraine and Russia war, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the death of our Queen, the pound hitting its all-time low and four chancellors in as many months.

In just the last fortnight, Kwasi Kwarteng has served as the second shortest chancellor – only being preceded by Ian Macleod who died following a heart attack in 1970 – while Liz Truss has been forced to resign after a record breaking 44 days.

While some are turning off the news, PR and comms professionals are desperately trying to get cut through.

I have been lucky enough to begin my career against the backdrop of all of this, quickly coming to realise that the bulk of my role is to monitor the news cycle and deliver media representation. However, when major events, with dramatic headlines occur so often, this can become quite difficult.

Here are three successful tips to get you cut through in the most demanding of landscapes:

Keep it relevant and fresh

As the news cycle continues to churn, the key to obtaining coverage is always ensuring that the story is relevant to what is going on currently, otherwise getting cut through is difficult.

Ask yourself if it is relevant for a publication’s audience right now. Will the audience relate to the content? Does it contain all the key facts and enough quality information to give the story depth? And if not, adapt, adapt, adapt. Just last month we pivoted a fintech angle to focus on the cost-of-living crisis just as it sparked a media frenzy, securing an interview and top tier coverage as a result.

Hijack the news agenda

In a similar vein, the news agenda might seem overwhelming but it’s also an excellent opportunity to ‘newsjack’ on some of those breaking news stories. In the midst of the chaos the news agenda has presented some fantastic chances for even fintech PRs or compliance PRs to get an opinion, interview or article secured for client. For example, when the mini budget was unfolding last month, we were able to turn a trending topic into a relevant angle by evaluating how certain policy changes could affect our clients and landed valuable coverage due to this.

Going beyond the press list

It might sound simple, but you have to build genuine relationships with journalists. If there is one thing I have gathered in the last 6 months it is that the pitch is just part of the story, making sure your angle gets in front of the right person can be the make-or-break link. The “who” we are pitching to is just as important as the “what” we are pitching.

Nurturing genuine, friendly relationships mean you are more likely to understand the stories that they like to write on. Similarly, taking the time to go out for drinks, lunches or coffees with contacts allows us to build deeper connections so they click on our email, over others, when it comes into their inbox.

When the Queen passed away in September, we were able to gain valuable intel instantly from journalists we know well on what they were publishing and when. So we were able to create stories they wanted to write on, as well as being first to the starting line when the normal news cycle did begin again.

To find out more about our services here.

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The lesson in sustainability communications that banks must learn from Icarus

By Brad Starr, Account Manager, Aspectus Group

Icarus, the son of the legendary master craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus, was brought up in captivity on the Island of Crete. In their daring escape, the pair armed themselves with matching sets of mechanical wings, covered in feathers collected from the beaches. Giddy with joy at having successfully fled, Icarus flew too close to the sun, melting the wax binding the feathers to the wings, and he crashed to his demise amid violent waves.

It is one of the tales of Greek mythology. But the lesson that it intends to convey does not always register.

The major investment banks that make up the world’s biggest zero-carbon financing club, GFANZ, are giving the impression that they are flying towards a brighter, greener economic future. But they should look to Icarus. Because we are feeling the flaming heat of the sun now more than when the legend of Icarus was said to have lived, and sea levels are rising.

The issue with the pledges that these banks are making is that they simply aren’t sustainable – by September this year, and staring down the throat of this year’s event, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America were among a faction that were ready to quit. The reason? Fossil fuel as an industry has had a remarkable turnaround this year, and the banks’ fiduciary duty requires them to look for profits wherever they can.

I am sure they had big dreams of flying high on the reputational rewards gleaned from committing to work towards net-zero. The issue is, when you then don’t carry through on those promises, and actually increase your funding of the fossil fuel industry, it melts the communicative wax binding your actions to your public reputation. It is dangerous to throw yourself publicly into a course of action that you aren’t fully committed to travel down. Supporting this view, law firm DLA Piper has gone on record as stating that any company making a net-zero claim without scientific underpinnings may be viewed as having misled consumers, which could lead to real legal consequences.

All of this underpins the importance of considered and clear communications when it comes to issues around sustainability. Every firm wants to be viewed positively by the public – but what is vitally important is that you aren’t perceived as a firm that is disingenuous about the way you communicate in this burgeoning area of finance. Only through meticulously developed communications strategies, that are created in perfect alignment with business goals and in the context of the holistic sustainability impacts of business activities, can firms ensure that their public reputation does not suffer the same fate as Icarus.

If you want to find out more about how we can support in ESG communications, click here

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“And the award goes to” … Why B2B awards should be a key component of your marketing plan

By Jamee Kirkpatrick, Account Director in the energy team

There are typically two camps when it comes to industry or B2B awards. Those who want the public recognition and those who feel that it’s ‘big headed or self-serving’ to enter. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, there are several reasons why you should consider entering industry awards as part of your wider B2B communications and marketing strategy. We should know, just this year we’ve been crowned the top B2B PR Agency by PRWeek and B2B Agency of the Year at the UK Agency Awards 2022.   

It’s a fantastic marketing tool

We all have competitors that we want to outshine and the ability to say you have ‘award-winning technology, team or employee’ in proposals, on your website, in social media content and wider communications efforts is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd and elevate your brand and offering.  

You get free exposure

With B2B awards comes exposure. A lot of investment goes into planning and running industry awards and they often have dedicated public relations including promotion of shortlists and post-award winner announcements, not to mention social media promotion too. 

As the saying goes: all exposure is good exposure and any communication efforts from third parties only elevates your own endeavors by offering credibility to your offering and – where marketing is concerned – provides backlinking opportunities from well-known events or well-respected organisations back to your own website to improve your online visibility. 

It’s attractive to potential customers and investors 

One of the first things that potential customers or investors do when they are considering working with you is to Google you. That third party promotion comes into play here, but also being able to showcase the high-quality, industry-recognised solutions that you have to those looking to do business with you – or those looking to sink capital into your business.  

B2B awards allow you to demonstrate not only your technical prowess but it also showcases your company’s ability to be a trusted, knowledge and safe pair of hands that is leading the charge in your industry.  

Employee satisfaction and retention

You can have the best technology out there, but without a fantastic team of people you don’t have a business. Winning industry awards is great for team morale and recognises employees for their contribution to the business. It is also attractive to potential candidates – whether you’re an award winner or you’re shortlisted amongst other industry players.  

But, remember you should be strategic…

B2B awards can cover different regions, industries and categories from technology, business and people, so choosing the right award is crucial. Aligning your award entries around your business goals and strategy is a strategic way to grow awareness and recognition of your brand in these locations or industries.  

Additionally, don’t enter every award category available to you. Yes, you can enter more than one, but where do you think you stand the strongest chance of success? Award entries are an investment so strategic thinking upfront will likely lead to better results.  

Some B2B awards hold more esteem than others, so be smart about what you’re entering rather than opting for a scatter gun approach. By working with a specialist communications agency in your sector such as energy and industrials, we can tap into our awards knowledge and sector expertise to guide your efforts in the right direction.  

On top of that, our track record of drafting – and winning – B2B awards for our clients is extensive, so while we can’t guarantee you an award win, we can help you put together the best application possible.  

Award season varies from industry to industry, but with several coming up in the calendar with looming entry deadlines, why wait until the next sweep of awards to start getting the kudos and recognition that you, your business and your teams deserve.  

Want to be award winning? Get in touch. 

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What those with a PR and marketing career learn from dating apps

By Catherine Hunter, Account Director, Energy team

Our CEO talks of starting his PR career when printed and posted letters were how editors were contacted, and I’m assuming love letters were also all the rage at the time. And as life has moved on in work, it’s also moved on in love. So, what can someone with a modern-day PR and marketing career learn from spending time on dating apps – and it’s got to be more than accepting rejection at work and in love! 

Know your audience

Any good campaign starts with putting your target audience at the heart. And that’s also no different on a dating app. The question is probably slightly different though. It’s less about “who is the target audience for this campaign?” and more, “who do I want to attract?”. But the foundational principles are the same. If you’re not highlighting the parts of your personality that you want a partner to enjoy, you’re probably not going to be attracting the right options from the apps. 

Tailor your opening

Once you’ve curated a profile that really sings to who you are – you need to make sure you’re delivering an opening line that really speaks to a potential partner. And the best way to do this, is to show you’ve read their profile. And this is the same as journalists, when developing a pitch around an interview or article. You want them to know you’ve read their recent stories and are tailoring your approach to them too. 

Follow up with caution

This one is possibly a bit of a trickier gauge with both PR and dating lives. Journalists all have their preferences when it comes to follow up – and this is usually best learned over a coffee. Unfortunately, dating apps aren’t going to be able to follow the same rules here. But there are a few things to assume that work for both. If you’re contact has been ignored twice – for either party – you can probably safely assume they aren’t interested in a follow up. There’s also merit in knowing timing. On a dating app, or to a journalist, a nudge within the same hour is probably too soon, unless this is an urgent, breaking news need. And so, from both sides, we should take caution in following up too soon. 

Of course, there’s more to being a PR and marketing career pro than honing your skills through what a dating platform can teach you. But that’s not to say it should be discounted as a means to sharpen some aspects of the wider communications craft. You’ll be assessing people for if they’re going to be interested in joining your life story, rather than publishing your news; practicing a great way to open a pitch and peak their attention for you, rather than your client or idea; and refining the way to deliver a thoughtful follow-up. But rest assured creating a hinge profile or tinder bio isn’t an essential first step into a communications career. Find out more about our opportunities here.

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From the Government’s big mini-budget to Labour’s big lead: A defining week for UK politics and public affairs – Part 2

Part 2 of our review of a defining week in UK politics, which will have significant impacts for businesses in Energy and Industrials, Tech, Capital Markets and Financial Services. 

Part 1 can be found here.

Labour’s turn in the spotlight 

While Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget was making waves and upending markets, the Labour Party was holding its annual conference in Liverpool, and enjoying a political windfall.

Two years on from Keir Starmer’s election as Labour leader, he finally feels ready to present his priorities to the country. His first year as leader (including his first party conference in 2021), was consumed with fixing the party itself, to consign the influence of Corbynism firmly to the past – which involved a series of internal political battles that are largely impenetrable to outsiders.

But that work appears to have paid off: the bitter rows of recent years were nowhere to be seen, Corbyn and his followers had lost all relevance, and Labour’s attention had turned its attention away from internecine disputes, and toward the country.

In political terms, it was a very good conference for Labour. Labour was presented with a gift in the form of the Government’s politically disastrous mini-budget. However, Labour have also created some of this advantage themselves. At the conference Labour talked up its fiscal responsibility, and began to set out an alternative idea of how growth is created – with an industrial strategy that supports sovereign capabilities, world-leading industries and clean energy.

By the close of the conference, most attendees had little doubt in their minds that Starmer would be the next Prime Minister. Labour leaves its conference as a party looking united and confident – which counts for a lot.

Voters also seemed to like what they saw from Starmer’s party. Labour was already consistently leading the Conservatives with leads in opinion polls in the high teens or greater, which would translate to Labour leading the next government. But following Labour conference several pollsters started to detect poll leads in the mid-thirties – the kind of gap not seen since the late-90s when Tony Blair was Prime Minister-in-waiting. Poll leads of this scale would translate into a thumping General Election victory for Labour, with an outright majority in Parliament that avoids the need for any tricky deals with the SNP or Lib Dems. While the polls are likely to tighten again, the is now a sense of inevitability around a Starmer-led Labour Government.

What have we learned? 

As we get into the meat of Conservative Conference this week, it’s worth thinking about what has been learned from Labour’s own conference. Here are some key lessons and observations:

  • Labour is going after Tory territory: Labour now has the confidence to challenge the Conservatives on their home turf: economic growth. This is a change. Labour normally focuses on ‘heart’ questions of fairness and distribution, while the Conservatives normally focus on ‘head’ appeals around growth and efficiency – with predictable results. But rather than the tax-cuts and deregulation favoured by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, Labour’s message on growth is based around supporting green industries, industrial strategy, and fiscal responsibility and certainty.
  • Say less, but more often: Rather than setting out piles of detailed new policy, Starmer and the Labour front bench have painted their vision in broad strokes, with a few big-ticket announcements rather than lots of little ones. Labour’s new flagship policy, a publicly-owned state energy company called ‘Great British Energy’, signified that broad economic vision: green, economically nationalist, and with Government taking an active role in partnership with business (rather than Corbynist hostility to business, or Trussian deregulation).
  • Labour thinks the UK can still lead the energy transition: Painting a picture of a ‘clean energy superpower’, Keir Starmer and the shadow climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, think there is still a chance for the UK to lead the world in clean technologies including offshore wind, hydrogen, CCUS, and green steel, and that these industries will be crucial, not only to the Net Zero agenda, but also to the UK’s economic success.
  • Labour is has found a comfortable position on public ownership: Since Starmer’s election as leader, there has been tension in the party over nationalisation of key industries, including ‘rail, mail, water and energy’, which was a signature policy under Corbyn. But nationalising large parts of the economy just isn’t that important to Starmer, who recently ruled out nationalising North Sea oil and gas. However, at Labour’s conference last week, the party recommitted to ending privatised rail franchises, and its flagship announcement was the launch of a publicly-owned ‘Great British Energy’ company, in a similar model to state-owned energy companies like EDF and Vattenfall. Rather than a direct threat to business, this state energy company is being framed as a partner to business, absorbing the greatest risks on big energy projects in order to crowd-in private investment. Despite pressure from some trade unions however, there’s nothing about the announcement that indicates this will lead to a wider spree of nationalisations.
  • The inheritance is worrying: Beyond the journey to Government, the thing that worries Labour frontbenchers now is the state of the economy they expect to inherit from the Conservative government. Labour’s shadow ministers become quite circumspect when asked what the high cost of borrowing will mean for investments in green energy, infrastructure and technology. A lot of responsibility is being placed on the shoulders of the Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, to reassure financial markets and bring down those borrowing costs, so that a Labour government is not fiscally and economically hamstrung the moment it enters government.

Dan Hogan is Aspectus’ Public Affairs Lead. He is at Conservative Conference this week, gathering insight into key policy areas affecting Energy and Industrials, Tech, Capital Markets and Financial Services, and spending time with the key decision makers whose choices affect your business. If you want to know more about how Aspectus’ Public Affairs team can help you, get in touch

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From the Government’s big mini-budget to Labour’s big lead: A defining week for UK politics and public affairs – part 1

Part 1 of our review of a defining week in UK politics, which will have significant impacts for businesses in Energy and Industrials, Tech, Capital Markets and Financial Services. 

Part 2 can be found here.

The Government turns from its record, and the markets take a turn for the worse

The old cliché is that a week is a long time in politics. Just a week ago, Liz Truss’s new Government presented its ‘Growth Plan 2022’. Despite being dubbed a ‘mini-budget’, there was nothing mini about it: this very big fiscal giveaway contained £45bn worth of tax cuts – the biggest such package in about 50 years.

Business groups initially welcomed the cuts to Corporation Tax and National Insurance, which had been promised throughout Liz Truss’s leadership campaign. But it was the announcement of additional tax cuts, like the (quickly reversed) abolition of the 45p top rate of tax, that really surprised the markets, and upset MPs and voters. The cut solely benefited the highest earners – which in the context of high Government debt and a cost-of-living crisis astonished most independent commentators. Even the IMF has criticised the package in an extraordinary warning to a G7 country.

All of these tax cuts appear to be funded through additional borrowing. Without the normal oversight provided by the Office of Budget Responsibility, there is little clarity into the long-term impacts on government finances. Sound money or fiscal responsibility is at the core of the Conservative brand, but suddenly Liz Truss’s new government appeared to be acting recklessly with the country’s finances.

The pound’s value tumbled immediately, and within days a run on government bonds became a fire sale that nearly toppled a number of pension funds, the Bank of England has had to buy up unlimited amounts of government debt, and banks pulled hundreds of mortgages from the market in anticipation of soaring interest rates, as analysts warned of precipitous falls in housing prices.

A stark change of direction

While the pound appears to have rallied since the Bank of England’s intervention, this does not bode at all well for a government that is less than a month old. But since the Brexit referendum in 2016, UK politics has become increasingly unstable: the UK has now had four Prime Ministers in a little over six years.

The new Truss government is determined to distance itself from its predecessors, with very little policy continuity between them. Both of Boris Johnson’s main post-Brexit agendas have been shelved: ‘Levelling up’ – the mission to use infrastructure investment and devolution to spread prosperity more equitably around the country – has been more or less forgotten (though it lives on as a slogan). And the future of the green agenda is now in doubt after the appointment of several climate sceptics to the Government front bench.

What has taken the place of these agendas is a headlong pursuit of economic growth: a review of the Net Zero strategy has been ordered by the new climate-sceptic Business Secretary. And growth is no longer a vehicle for levelling up: the new Chancellor has said plainly that his sole priority is growing the economy, not worrying about how the gains are shared. Now the Government defines itself in contrast to its predecessors, reversing most of the fiscal policy of the last government, and criticising the last decade as a ’vicious cycle of stagnation’.

The Chancellor believes that his approach – of cutting taxes first, and pushing through supply-side reforms to areas like the planning system, business regulations, childcare, immigration and digital infrastructure later – will create growth, and get the UK on course for a new 2.5% annual growth target. But observers inside and outside the Conservative party are sceptical.

Time is running out

Financial markets are not the only ones to take fright at the Government’s fiscal package. Conservative MPs really don’t like it either. They mainly backed Liz Truss’s leadership rival, Rishi Sunak, who accurately predicted the response of the markets to Truss’s tax-cutting pledges. Now there are all kinds of nuclear options under discussion amongst Tory MPs: there are reports that letters calling for a no-confidence vote in Liz Truss have already started to go in, with other MPs reportedly in secret talks with Labour about how to defeat the Government’s must-pass Finance Bill. Losing such a vote would be the death knell for the Government, and it could lead to a General Election. Readers should take all of this with a pinch of salt, however – despite the extraordinary anger on Conservative benches, MPs are unlikely to vote for their imminent unemployment, given the likely outcome of such an election.

Ultimately the most critical constituency for the Government – voters – seems to have moved decisively against the Government too. Polling in the days since the mini-budget has shown the Conservatives losing their usual lead on economic policy – normally their strong suit – along with nearly every other issue, and losing ground to Labour in voting intention. Labour has now built up a solid lead from every polling company, which if repeated at a General Election, would likely produce a majority Labour Government. With two years to the next election, at most, the Government has limited time to prove that its radical free-market policies can work.

Part 2 can be found here.

Dan Hogan is Aspectus’ Public Affairs Lead. He is at Conservative Conference this week, gathering insight into key policy areas affecting Energy and Industrials, Tech, Capital Markets and Financial Services, and spending time with the key decision makers whose choices affect your business. If you want to know more about how Aspectus’ Public Affairs team can help you, get in touch.

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GA4 migration: planning a smooth transition

By Anna Fishlock, Co-head of the Digital team

You may have heard the news or seen the notice at the top of your Google Analytics account:, Google’s newest version of analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is now available and has been for some time. GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics; a free to use website and application measurement platform provided by Google, which enables you to measure traffic and engagement across all your websites and apps.  

By July 1st 2023, Google will no longer be processing data for websites using the existing Google Universal Analytics (UA), all properties will be upgraded to GA4. With an estimated 26 million websites currently using Universal Analytics, this means UA will no longer receive data from your website.  

What does this mean for the future of Google Analytics?

GA4 has been developed to better focus on customer privacy data due to the implementation of GDPR and CCPA (California’s Privacy Act). Crucially it now includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement which is important as Google is phasing out third-party cookies in 2023. GA4 will start reducing the reliance on cookies to record data; therefore, preventing any future gaps in the data.  

Events Vs session-based data

A major change in GA4 is the standard usage of events rather than session-based data. Previously in Universal Analytics, you would have to define your custom events through Google Tag Manager for websites and view them in a separate events or conversion reports. The reason this change needs to happen is to gain parity between website and application-based properties so measurement can be combined and viewed in a single Google Analytics property. Also, by focusing on event data we will have a more insightful view into a customer journey on websites; GA4 is capable of tracking what buttons customers click/tap or how far they scroll down a page/screen.  

What does it mean for my business?

Not making this move over to GA4 can have a huge impact on your business. After a certain date, which is yet to be confirmed (but it is thought to be either end of 2023 or early 2024), you will no longer be able to access any of your Universal Analytics reports; all properties will be completely unavailable. Therefore, making the move to GA4 as soon as possible allows you to build the necessary historical data that your business needs and you’ll also benefit from its new tracking features too.  

What’s the rush?

While it sounds as though we still have a year to prepare for GA4, we’re encouraging our clients to familiarise themselves with the new dashboard and all the new options available to track data. Google currently plans to keep the historical UA data in its own property but we are still helping our clients download historical data so this can be stored safely as a back-up in case Google completely removes all UA properties in future. 

How can Aspectus help?

Although it sounds like a daunting move across to GA4, it doesn’t have to be. Our acquisition team is already supporting our clients to make the transition as simple as possible. Feel free to get in touch with one of our acquisition specialists if you would like more information.   

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