What does creativity have to do with belief? In the corporate world, belief in business is dwindling. In fact, according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, which has been compiling data for over 17 years, belief in business is at a stagnant low. We are living in an age of “backlash against authority”. So how can businesses come back from this?
Belief is earned through authenticity, transparency and credibility. And this doesn’t just mean through actions, but through communications. In our own research, ‘Belief in Business: state of the nation’, we have found that three out of five people would stop giving business to an organisation that they didn’t believe in and two out of five of people would not consider working for a company they didn’t believe in.
Creativity plays a critical role in building belief in business. Time and again, corporate statements of shareholder-owned companies are shrouded in polite waffle and interchangeable business jargon. Timid communicators often reside in the safe harbour of homogeny. This is a mistake. Having a spectacular yacht is one thing, but mooring it in the harbour of homogeny creates an environment of complacency and routine.
Great communication rarely emerges from a timid culture.
A creative Apple a day
Eighty-two percent of executives surveyed by Forrester agree that there is a strong connection between creativity and desired business results. Respondents believe that creativity contributes to increased revenue and greater market share.
Creativity is essential in business because it is also a differentiator, and when it comes through in a company’s brand, can become its competitive edge.
Take for instance, Apple. The entire brand is synonymous with creativity. In fact, studies have shown that just thinking about the logo boosts creativity. It encourages users to “Think Different”, a simple and bold campaign that helped give Apple its competitive edge because it catered to the "misfits, the rebels, the round pegs in the square holes – the ones who see things differently". The campaign urged users to stand out from the crowd and think in a new way. The brand identity set Apple apart from its peers and succeeded in giving Apple its competitive edge.
From timidity to confidence
Bringing creativity to complex and fundamentally important subjects helps a company move from timidity to confidence. The power of words and imaginative design can help companies to communicate in such a way that shifts perspectives and regains trust, especially in our digital, instantaneous world of global communications.
It’s simply not good enough for a company facing market disruption to say, ‘the industry is facing challenges’ or ‘we are dealing with a difficult environment’. It needs to explain, reassure and connect with people in a way that is genuine and credible. And that won’t happen by hiding behind business jargon or communicating like everyone else.
The Tailor and the Pope
Take for instance, the billionaire investor, Warren Buffett. He could say that he looks for good management as part of his investment decision, just like everyone else does, or he can use language in a way that resonates.
As he puts it, “Our prototype for occupational fervour is the Catholic tailor who used his small savings of many years to finance a pilgrimage to the Vatican. When he returned, his parish held a special meeting to get his first-hand account of the Pope. "Tell us," said the eager faithful, "just what sort of fellow is he?"
Our hero wasted no words: "He’s a forty-four, medium."
The power of creative language illustrates Buffet’s point of job commitment and fulfilment better than plain speak ever could.
A bit of differentiation
Having a clear, distinctive voice is now harder than ever. Using creativity to build belief in business is essential to any company’s future success in an ever-increasing compliance-led and homogenised world.
Whether a company likes it or not, its story is being told in all sorts of ways each day.
Either you can take control of your messaging or you can let others fill the vacuum for you. Either you choose to be just as good as your competitors or you can choose to set yourself apart.
Creativity is the key. It is what fuels big ideas, challenges people’s way of thinking, creates new opportunities and ultimately, helps you to build belief.
By Kay Kayachith
Kay is a Senior Consultant with Radley Yeldar helping clients to tell their stories in print and online through strategic advice, audience-led insights and tailored communications.