Why Fortune Favours the Bold

New Brands2Life study outlines what it takes to deliver stand-out communications

  • 98% of B2B companies say that ‘being bold’ in their communications is important to them… but only 50% say that they regularly produce bold communications programmes

 London, UK – 1 December 2021 – Brands2Life, the leading communications agency for brands transforming our world, has today launched its latest thought leadership report: ‘Fortune Favours The Bold’.

Built on a study of 200 B2B communications leaders in business and professional services, technology and IT, financial services and fintech across the US and the UK[1], it explores the opportunities and challenges around the creation and delivery of bold and ambitious communications.

The industry is almost unanimous in its desire to be bold: 98% of respondents said that it is either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important to them, with a further 88% saying that they want to be bolder in the future and have plans to do so.

However, despite these high figures, only 50% say that they regularly produce bold communications and a further 46% say that they ‘sometimes’ produce bold communications.

Being bold doesn’t always mean being popular. When asked, the largest number of respondents (80%) placed ‘regularly communicating messages rooted in company values, even though not everyone may agree with them externally’, as the highest-ranking statement that best aligns with their understanding of ‘being bold’.

Increasingly it is the staff’s desire for their organisation to champion issues that drives bold communications. ‘Staying true to values’, ‘keeping up with the competition’, and ‘expectation from employees’ and ‘the rise of online and global movements such as Black Lives Matter’, #MeToo, and climate change are all cited as drivers of bold communications programmes.

But it is also internal factors that tend to get in the way when things don’t go as planned and the study shows that nothing happens without buy-in from the CEO and support from the wider management team. 47% said CEOs have the final say in their marketing and communications and another 47% say the CEOs are involved.

Reasons for the low numbers of organisations that think themselves bold are investigated in the report, but barriers include: ‘unsupportive colleagues’ (39%), ‘leadership not delivering the message as well as they should’ (35%), ‘agency partners letting them down’ (34%) and ‘not putting enough resources in to campaigns’ (27%), amongst others.

Comments Giles Fraser, Co-Founder at Brands2Life, “We know that 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.”

The originality of the business model, the organisational values and creativity all play a key role. The research also investigated the key components of a bold communications plan. The backing of senior management rated very highly, as did “A long-term strategic plan with clear objectives’ (48%); ‘A ground-breaking and bold business model’ (48%); ‘A creative platform rooted in well-research customer insights’ (44%); and ‘Narrative and story-telling reflecting both our own and our customers’ beliefs’ (44%).

The measurement of bold campaigns is still variable, with ‘quality and quantity of coverage’ highly represented, alongside ‘brand engagement’, ‘social and online engagement’ and ‘industry feedback’. Successful bold campaigns have a positive effect throughout the organisation too.

Beth Hurran, Director of Strategic Communications, Ricoh Europe, backs this assertion up. “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 coordinated and effective team.”

Adds Sarah Scales, Co-Founder at Brands2Life, “Values, authenticity, and company culture rank highly when it comes to producing bold communications programmes. Where we as practitioners can demonstrate our expertise is in working to bring those core elements to life through world class creative messaging and stories and campaigns that generate the cut through and deliver real brand and business outcomes.”

To read the full ‘Fortune Favours The Bold’ report, including guidance to producing your own bold communications programme, visit here.

[1] Research by Vanson Bourne in September 2021 amongst 200 comms heads in the UK and US

About the research

Vanson Bourne interviewed 100 communicators (PR, marketing and marketing communications) in the US and 100 communicators in the UK, working in the business and professional services, technology and IT, finance and fintech areas, at senior manager level and above.

The research was conducted over a three-week period in September 2021.