The world today is a very different place to when the GREAT Campaign launched in 2012. Like all leading brands, GREAT has to evolve in order to stay relevant and continue to shape global perceptions of the UK. Today, a refreshed campaign has been announced, with an invitation to the world to see things from a fresh perspective. We reflect on the campaign’s journey so far, and what it means to capture and celebrate the UK’s unique character.

How do you capture the spirit of a nation?

This was the question the GREAT Campaign was faced with in late 2020 when looking back over its almost ten-year legacy as the UK government’s flagship international marketing campaign. For nearly a decade, GREAT has showcased the very best of the UK on the world stage, capturing the hearts and imaginations of millions of people in over 140 countries.

Now, as we enter a new chapter in our nation’s history, the campaign has reflected on what it has achieved so far, looking at what the UK has to offer to the world in 2021 and beyond. As host of the G7, the Global Investment Summit, and the COP26 Climate Action Summit, our country is primed to serve as a leading partner in tackling global issues from the irrefutable threat of climate change to the need for collaboration as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As countries around the globe look to us for leadership, we must harness our unique spirit to help find the solutions the world needs now more than ever before.

Seeing things differently

So, how do you capture the spirit of a nation? Is it through its places? Its people? The industries it’s famed for? The icons it produces? Its language and landmarks, its collective imagination, or its capacity to inspire others?

We believe that the UK’s spirit is made up of all of this. But there is also something more; something that has shaped our country throughout history into a nation of creative thinkers, daring dreamers and curious scientists. Something that has enabled us to bring fresh ideas to the table at every turn, to challenge convention and to stimulate progress.

This something is our ability to see things from a fresh perspective. Here in the UK, we have an insatiable thirst for discovery – for looking at challenges through a different lens to uncover new and pioneering solutions.

Innovation for all

A common thread of innovation runs throughout the UK’s narrative as a nation. By seeing things differently, we create opportunities and offer experiences that have a positive impact on people all around the world. Take our higher education as an example: from Queen’s University Belfast to King’s College London, Aberystwyth to Aberdeen, more world leaders have been educated in the UK than anywhere else.

Or consider the ground-breaking work of companies like Open Bionics, who have developed the world’s first trial of 3D-printed prosthetic hands for children. Today, their Hero Arm is turning children into bionic heroes across the globe.

Our fresh perspectives also underpin a commitment to support climate action for the good of our planet. The largest offshore wind farm in the world is being built just off the Yorkshire coast, and classic British businesses like Jaguar Land Rover have committed to making their entire fleet electric by the end of the decade – just one of countless UK companies creating innovative solutions to help our planet on the road to recovery.

Partnership and collaboration

Fundamentally, the UK’s spirit is built upon the principles of collaboration and partnership, working together to see things differently. Incredible opportunities arise when we work hand-in-hand with others to find common solutions to global issues – from climate change and sustainability to inclusion and diversity. Most recently, collaboration has led to breakthroughs for the good of the world’s health: developed in the UK, trialled in Brazil and South Africa and manufactured in India, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is saving lives worldwide.

An invitation to the world

The ability to see things differently captures the spirit of the UK itself, as a nation with a ceaseless drive to create, innovate and challenge the status quo. At the same time, we are also inviting the world to join us in embracing fresh perspectives – harnessing the power of imagination and reimagination to create a positive impact for all.

So join us and see things differently.