To mark the start of National Storytelling Week, storytelling consultancy Insight Agents have published a report on how well the UK's biggest companies - the FTSE 50 - explain their businesses.
Insight Agents analysed and compared the 'About Us' pages of corporate websites, and the CEO's annual report for each company. The aim was to discover how well these leading businesses were able to explain what it is they do, and whether the language used was clear and cohesive. The research project was lead by founder and MD of Insight Agents, Sam Knowles, and supported by Ben Savill from the Catalyst Team.
The findings of the 'FTSE Clarity Index' are telling: none of the official FTSE top 10 ranking businesses appeared in the top 10 of the clarity index, illustrating that market capitalisation doesn't directly correlate with a business' ability to communicate effectively.
The best business at communicating was insurance company Aviva, closely followed by BT in second place, and then Compass Group, RBS, and BHP Billiton.
The report also found that the 'About Us' pages were better at communicating then the CEOs' reports, but that both could benefit from simplification.
Overall, the research found that business' websites tend to use over complicated language and convoluted sentences, which lead to the reader becoming disengaged. This then has a negative impact on the reader’s view of the company, which is damaging for their reputation.
It concluded by stating that overall, businesses need to "work harder and write simpler, more straightforward language," and that "they need to sound and talk like people talk".