'Fear is a killer in the creative industries', says Unity boss ahead of Cannes workshop

Fear of failure is the biggest "killer" of creativity in marketing, according to a study commissioned by the agency Unity ahead of a session at Cannes tomorrow.

Don't be afraid, says Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson
Don't be afraid, says Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson

The agency and the creative training business Now Go Create conducted the study of 200 UK marketers, asking what 'creative bravery' in the marcoms industry means to them.

Forty one per cent said it was about challenging the status quo, while 36 per cent thought it was about taking risks. 32 per cent said creative bravery constituted not being afraid to fail.

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However, 44 per cent of respondents cited a fear of failure as the chief reason for not being creatively brave more often.

This was followed by 32 per cent who avoided being creatively brave for fear of looking foolish, and 30 per cent who feared judgement. A further 22 per cent said they were not creatively brave more often for fear of damaging their reputation.

Gerry Hopkinson, co-founder of Unity, said: "Fear is hard-wired into us and has served us well as a species, protecting us from harm, but in the creative industries it's a killer.

"There's a difference between being brave and foolish. Bravery is about understanding the risks but having the courage to take them for a greater good. Figuring out how to execute bold ideas is our job and if anything, the future is going to demand more, not less bravery from all of us."

Asked if they had ever been creatively brave, 77 per cent of survey respondents said they had been, while one in five said they were creatively brave all the time. However, nearly 40 per cent being said they were creatively brave only once in the last 12 months.

Now Go Create founder Claire Bridges said: "Having interviewed creatives at the top of their game, one thing stands out: they take risks, do things differently and challenge the status quo – not for the sake of it but to increase the impact and effectiveness of their communication."

The workshop, called '#lambstolions: The Five Questions Every Creative Leader Needs to Ask', will explore what it means to be creatively brave, how to overcome fears, strategies for achieving creative bravery, and lessons that can be learned from creative 'heroes' such as Elon Musk and Picasso, Unity said.

Read next: Ketchum wins big at Cannes PR Lions as Fearless Girl bags the Grand Prix

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