How do we plan media in an era where disruption reigns, predictions are unreliable and the country is split into groups of people that apparently loathe each other? ‘Getting closer to the Great British Public’ is designed to help media agency strategists and planners get under the skin of what really makes people tick in a period of great uncertainty. Are the very ways in which the industry categorises people, and the assumptions implicit in the labels we use, causing brands and advertising to become more distant from their audience? Our research brought to life how people feel pulled apart by fear, money and stereotypes. The findings challenged received wisdom about different ages and socio-economic labels. Worryingly, people felt pretty disassociated with the brands and advertising that were supposed to appeal to them. Yet there were clear shared values, clear aspirations for the future, clear bonds in the communities of very different people that brands and agencies could look to for inspiration. Through understanding the importance of community, graft and authenticity and how to strengthen the bonds that can override apparent differences, we were able to offer actionable insight for better communications planning.