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Stories that should be told

Ronnie Gunn | 07 Oct, 2020 | Return|

The Covid-19 pandemic is a serious national emergency and what has become known as the mainstream media (MSM) is right to report about its negative effects on the economy and society. It is also perfectly legitimate to analyse evidence about potentially bleak outcomes for the future.

However, a large part of the MSM seems to have developed a collective mindset which is entirely devoid of optimism. Journalists and broadcasters must know that there is good news out there as well as bad, but they choose to ignore it. The thinking behind this editorial decision making is hard to fathom.

However, the social networks can offer an open house to those that wish to demonstrate that the UK is far from defeated by Covid-19 and a number of social media users have come forward to do so.

The power of social media

Innovation and inward investment

One of the least publicised success stories in the MSM is what's been happening in UK manufacturing. 

The UK is the world's ninth most important manufacturing country and businesses in the sector have been remarkably resilient, dynamic and innovative during the Covid-19 emergency. Unfortunately, this has not been reflected nearly enough in MSM reportage.

BBI Brandboost has discovered a number of sources that are using their Twitter accounts to report about the many positive business activities that have been occurring recently throughout the UK. Together with several of our clients that are active on social media, we are determined that these reports about innovation and inward investment are stories that should be told.

A dynamic end to Q3 2020 

Among the most reliable and informative channels for positive manufacturing news is the Twitter account @Jefferson_MFG, a co-founder along with @mtdmfg of the FactoryNOW initiative. 

Their reports have indicated that the end of the third quarter this year has seen a number of very encouraging developments in the UK's engineering and manufacturing sectors. For instance, the following two Tweets were posted by @Jefferson_MFG on Thursday 1st October:

  •  September's highlights:

    SeAH: New factory, 400 jobs
    Nestlé: £31m factory investment
    Bentley Motors: New test facility
    Cormick: New factory, 300 jobs
    TDK: £11.5m factory investment 
    BAE: £87m US Navy export order
    Bluetree Group: 400 new jobs

  •  British factory activity grew for a fourth month in a row in September according to the latest industry data. The IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) recorded a figure of 54.1, well above the 50.0 threshold denoting growth

Positive developments across a range of sectors

Throughout September there was a steady stream of further terrific manufacturing news posted on Twitter by @Jefferson_MFG and @FactoryNOW. Here is just a sample:

Re attracting overseas investment

@Jefferson_ MFC - Sep 30

Finnish-owned flexible packaging manufacturer WIPAK is investing more than £5 million in new machinery at its Welshpool factory in Wales. The investment, the largest in the firm's history, will create dozens of new jobs.

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 21

US telecoms giant 𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿 has announced plans to invest £50 million into its UK business. A new advanced fulfilment centre will be built in Crewe, the Florida-based firm's UK and European hub, as part of the huge investment programme.

@FactoryNOW_Sep 21

American aerospace giant Moog is building a new £40 million factory in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. The New York-headquartered firm describes the investment as "an integral part of its commitment to manufacturing in the UK."

Re exporting across the world

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 28

Family-owned 𝗚𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗱 𝗠𝗰𝗗𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗱, the largest independent juice supplier and blender in the UK, has won a Japanese export order worth over £500,000. Established in 1917, the Basildon-based firm exports to more than 20 countries across the world. 

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 15

BAE wins multi-million pound contract with Nevada-based Aerion Supersonic to supply the flight control system for its new AS2 supersonic jet. The development of the fly-by-wire system will be conducted at BAE's sites in New York & Rochester, Kent.

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 11

The UK has secured a free trade agreement with Japan. The deal is expected to increase trade by an estimated £15.2 billion.

Re inventing and innovating

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 28

By the end of this year, 70% of the expected demand for PPE will be met by British manufacturers, reducing the reliance on overseas suppliers. Prior to the pandemic, just 1% of PPE was produced in the UK.

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 24

British manufacturer @VerticalAero, the Bristol-based company pioneering affordable electric aviation, has unveiled plans for a revolutionary ‘flying taxi’. Set to be the world’s first certified winged all-electric VTOL aircraft, the VA-1X will be built in Britain. 

@FactoryNOW_Sep 17

Jaguar Land Rover is set to unveil its new electric Range Rover and XJ models later this year. The British marque has invested £1 billion upgrading its Castle Bromwich plant where both models will be built.

Re building factories and creating jobs

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 29

Chemicals manufacturer 𝗟𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗰𝗵 is investing millions of pounds expanding its Middlesbrough plant. The Teesside firm expects the investment to double production capacity and create 80 new jobs.

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 25

𝗟𝗮𝗸𝗲𝘀 𝗕𝗶𝗼𝗦𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 has submitted plans to build a new £350 million biopharmaceuticals plant in Ulverston, Cumbria. The huge investment is expected to create more than 250 jobs.

@FactoryNOW_ Sep 23

Family-owned 𝗩𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗕𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘆 is building a new multi-million pound production facility in Wrexham. Described as the "most modern bakery in Europe", the 140,000 sq ft factory is scheduled to open early next year. 

Re developing manufacturing skills

@Jefferson_MFG - Sep 27

British yacht builder 𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗬𝗮𝗰𝗵𝘁𝘀 has recruited the highest number of apprentices in its history. 66 trainees have joined the Plymouth-based firm's award-winning apprenticeship programme. 

@FactoryNOW_Sep 15

Major milestone for Siemens' new £200 million train manufacturing plant in Goole as first apprentices start college. The factory investment is expected to create 700 direct jobs, 250 during the construction phase and 1,700 across the supply chain.

A change of narrative is needed

Given these examples, and there are plenty more to choose from, we believe that the MSM should critically analyse its reporting about the Covid-19 emergency. To restore a balanced appraisal of the state of the nation, clearly a change of narrative is needed. In the meantime, BBI Brandboost will offer every support in promoting UK success stories in manufacturing and other business sectors.  

About the Author

Ronnie Gunn

Ronnie Gunn

As Head of Communications, Ronnie focuses on content writing, PR and media relations. Throughout a long journalistic and business career, he has developed an exceptional talent for spotting a good story and knowing how to tell it. His varied experience allows him to understand complex technical subjects like precision engineering and appreciate the key selling points of consumer markets such as travel.

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