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RY launches 'Belief in business: state of the nation' 2019 research

Four out of five Britons believe business is key to building a successful society

21 March 2019

Belief In Business

New ‘Belief in business: state of the nation’ research reveals what society expects of business and why it matters for business success



Radley Yeldar (RY) has found that nearly four out of five Britons (78%) consider that business has a crucial role to play in building a successful society. RY’s 2019 ‘Belief in business: state of the nation’ research, launched today, also found that nearly half of the population (45%) feels that things are going in the wrong direction in the UK with less than a third (29%) feeling optimistic about the years ahead. However, these results bring to light the crucial role business can play in creating a positive society.


The findings


RY’s research revealed that while small and medium-sized businesses are better able to capture the public’s confidence (69% and 81% respectively), large companies are struggling.


Cynicism in publicly-listed companies is particularly high, with less than two-fifths (39%) believing in them. And the risks for businesses who don’t manage to capture this support is huge:

  • Three in five Britons (59%) say that they’ll stop using a business they don’t believe in
  • Nearly half (46%) wouldn’t work for them – a significant challenge given the current, almost ubiquitous war for talent
  • Perhaps even more troubling for some companies, two-fifths (40%) say that they will not invest in them or will even take their money elsewhere


Certain behaviours are simply not tolerated. Britons’ belief in business is shaken by those who don’t pay taxes (56%), don’t pay the living wage (56%), don’t respect their people (56%) and fail to communicate openly with customers, employees and stakeholders (51%).  Not caring about the impact on society (49%) or the environment (47%) will also make half of the public turn away from organisations.


The good news: ‘belief triggers’


The ‘Belief in business: state of the nation’ research identified five key ‘belief triggers’ – drivers of belief – which will encourage the public to believe more in the businesses they come into contact with:

  • For the majority (56%) of the population, businesses with happy employees working in a rewarding workplace is the top trigger
  • More than half (52%) would get behind a business that’s open to questions and shares information transparently
  • One in two Britons (51%) want a business that’s looking to better itself and will ‘leave behind a better society’
  • Just over a third of the population (35%) would believe more in a business that has a purpose that is deeply embedded throughout the business
  • Similarly, accepting a short-term hit in pursuit of a long-term benefit or purpose would convince nearly a third (31%) of Britons to believe in a business


Ultimately, the majority of the public (64%) recognise that belief in business means being moved by what a business stands for and where it wants to go, as well as being able to see how it will get there. It’s a combination of evidence and inspiration.


 Carl Radley, Chairman and founder of RY said:

“Events of the last few years have shaken our confidence in the future. But with the right behaviours, companies can kickstart and revitalise the public’s belief in them, which is crucial to their longevity. Evidence times inspiration is the new formula for success in a changing world. This research confirms that the onus is on business to create the world we all want to live in. The 'belief triggers' are a good place to start.”


Click here for more information on the research. The research launched today is the first part of RY’s ‘Belief in business’ campaign. Further results and opinion pieces will be released in the coming months.




The research was conducted 27th February – 5th March 2019 among 1,164 adults aged 18 and above in the UK via an online survey. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,164 adults is 2.9% at the 95 percent level of confidence.


About RY


Radley Yeldar is an award-winning, independent, London and Birmingham-based creative consultancy. Our 200-strong team of specialists has been helping to create a world that believes in business for over 30 years, through a unique blend of business and strategic integrated services – including employee engagement, reporting, sustainability, brand positioning and identity, purpose and more – all brought to life through film, campaigns, experiences, print, digital content and platforms. Evidence times inspiration is the new formula for success in a changing world and everyone needs something to believe in. So let’s get started.


For press enquiries, please contact Georgia Carmichael, PR Manager