The Brands2Life study quizzed 200 comms leaders in the UK and US, spanning the business and professional services, technology, financial services and fintech sectors.
Ninety-eight per cent of respondents said it was either "very" or "somewhat" important to them to be "bold" in their campaigning. However, only 50 per cent said they regularly produced "bold" communications programmes and a further 46 per cent admitted they "sometimes" produced bold comms.
It appears it is senior decision-makers, such as the chief executive, who often stand in the way of bold campaigning, with 47 per cent of respondents saying the CEO has the final say in any campaign. Thirty-seven per cent said that, if it doesn’t work, it’s because "leadership didn’t deliver the message as well as they could have" or "they didn’t support the activity" (25 per cent).
The research suggests that bravery in comms approach is strongly related to the organisation’s values and its positioning on key issues.
The top three definitions of boldness were: "Regularly communicating messages rooted in company values, even though not everyone may agree with them externally"; "Not being afraid to take risks with communications"; and "Regularly taking a stance on topical issues that challenge the status quo".
The research shows that, to succeed, values-based campaigns must be circulated and bought into by all stakeholders (45 per cent), reflect the company’s values and goals (44 per cent), be rooted in well-researched evidence (44 per cent), and be delivered to the market using the most creative and innovative methods possible (44 per cent).
Giles Fraser, co-founder of Brands2Life, said: “Being bold in communications is the result of many factors, including the way organisations position their business model and offer; their values; the language and tone of voice they use; the themes and issues they choose to champion; and the tactics and channels they use to communicate. What the study tells us is that bold communications only succeed if they are based on the vision of the leadership and the true values of the organisation.”
Ninety per cent of respondents agreed that their organisation had benefited when it had managed to be "bold". Crucial stakeholders such as investors and major customers notice boldness and innovation too, and it reassures them that the organisation is visionary and dynamic.
Beth Hurran, director of strategic communications at Ricoh Europe, said: “As well as helping generate leads and opportunities for new business, some of our bold campaigns have really helped to join up our marketing and communications functions, making us a more co-ordinated and effective team.”
To read the full ‘Fortune Favours The Bold’ report.