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Half of senior comms leaders struggle with cancel culture, claims latest research

Nearly one in two senior communications leaders (44%) are struggling with cancel culture according to the latest Comms Futures Pulse conducted by research firm The Pulse Business. Some are less concerned and appear to shrug it off, but other comms leaders speak with grim realism on how cancel culture is affecting them in the highly charged and uncertain world we live in.

One agency CEO put forward: “The problem is the fear that cancel culture generates (which) then changes behaviour for the worse. In particular, it reduces diversity of opinion… it’s difficult to navigate.”

34% claim cancel culture is having little or no impact on them with 13% saying they are not really bothered at all.

Cancel Culture is thriving. What impact, if any, is this having on you personally as a comms professional?

Mixed views

One director of communications was robust: “Whilst cancel culture is a concern at the professional level (I spend time working out how to negotiate this whilst remaining true to organisational values) at a personal level, I don’t think it is impacting me.”

Another CEO opined powerfully: “Leftish wokery is destroying national cohesion and pride, and ultimately undermining the country” whilst a seasoned agency board lead told it straight: “It is preventing me from raising my hand and expressing a view.”

The last word sits with this CEO who said, “The whole culture wars/war on woke/cancel culture furore is got up by politicians and the media and actually only exists on university campuses, in elite sports, and tabloid newspapers (which are now read by very few people). It has limited bearing on the real world and no bearing on me.”

In short, it’s a mixed bag, but it is hard to ignore the creeping fear some comms leaders are experiencing when it comes to saying or writing down what they really think. How this is tackled in the months and years ahead may well come down to how brave people are prepared to be when it comes to telling it like it is.


Sample size of c700 Communications Leaders based in the UK, working at director level or above both in-house and agency

Article written by Imogen Osborne, founder of The Pulse Business

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