Is playing it safe in PR actually the riskiest move?


Once one of the most sought-after capabilities in your PR agency, ‘creativity’ has become almost a taboo word, certainly in B2B circles. So much so that two-thirds of B2B communications professionals we researched recently have stopped using it when selling-in their ideas and campaigns internally.

Worryingly, creativity has become synonymous with risk. And no one wants to do anything too risky in the current climate. There’s a feeling that it’s simply not the best time to put your neck on the line.

Instead, people are sticking to tried and tested approaches. A safe press release. A nice thought leadership article. A white paper. You know, stuff that works. Or does it?

Because the tried and tested is also the tried and tired. It’s what everyone else is churning out, and guess what? It’s not working anymore. Or not enough anyway. Not enough to stand out, get ahead of the competition, build real brand awareness, or transform reputations.

Creativity is key to connecting with your audience

Your potential customers are drowning in the same old messages. And they’re bored of it. They’re looking for something fresh, something to entertain, connect with, make them think.

Creativity isn’t just the ‘icing on the cake’. It’s about telling your story in a way that connects with your audience emotionally.

And we all have emotions — even CTOs, accountants, and developers. We don’t only engage our rational brain when at work. We have gut reactions to things we see that form memories. This is so important that the clever team over at the B2B Institute suggests B2B companies should spend nearly half of their budget on brand building — on campaigns that strike a chord and resonate on a personal level.

And in essence, the practitioners agree. Almost eight in 10 (78%) of our peers in in-house B2B comms reckon that creativity is the route to success in this cluttered market. But they’re reluctant to have this fight internally when everyone is so KPI and performance-driven.

Evidence-based creative campaigns help to eliminate risk

So how do we address this? The trick is to take the ‘gamble’ out of creative ideas. We should never ask clients to cross their fingers and take a leap of faith.

We need to demonstrate why an out-of-the-box idea isn’t just smart — it’s backed by solid evidence. And we need to show how the right creative concept can be executed across multiple channels and generate meaningful results.

So really, the only leap we need to take is to step away from the same old, same old. But we need to bring proof to the table that these ideas have legs — that they’re not just pretty pictures and clever taglines, they’re the workhorses that drive success.

Creativity isn’t about being fearless or tossing out the rulebook. It’s about being smart enough to know when it’s time to shake things up. True bravery comes from the decision to do something different, with all the evidence pointing to why it’s the right move.

Ultimately, staying safe might just be the biggest risk out there.

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