After a two-year hiatus, the acclaimed and beloved Cannes Lions Creativity Festival will open Monday as the world’s creative community reunites to discuss the future of creativity. The Cannes Lions team did a study to determine the most pressing themes that will define what’s next and landed on a wide-ranging agenda which will cover: Sustainability, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI), Data + Technology, Brand Creativity + Effectiveness, Talent, and Business Transformation.
While the pandemic was a boon to highlight how creativity can help brands be more resilient and weather any storm, there is now an urgency to apply a more empathic type of creativity to drive further progress. The festival is calling this new phenomenon Big ‘C’ creativity that should be applied to the heart of a business to drive innovation, purpose, business resilience and growth.
With this exciting week ahead, I sat down with the one-of-a-kind Orlando Baeza, current CMO at Flock Freight and ex-BuzzFeed, Kajabi, and Activision. Orlando will be on the ground covering the event for LinkedIn. What follows are his thoughts on trends within each of the festival’s key themes to look out for as the event unfolds:
I think you will start to see sustainability messaging taking center stage. We’ve already started to see how ESG programs are continuing to be highlighted in marketing campaigns and comms for many of the brands that we know and love. You should expect to see this trend increasing because consumers are going out and telling us that they’re taking what they’re learning about these companies, their ESG efforts, sustainability, or DEI for example, and making direct buying decisions accordingly. I read a Forbes article that stated that 79% of consumers are changing purchase preferences based on the product’s social or environmental impact. So naturally, marketers are going to capture that insight. Increasingly, I think telling this story in the right way, to the right target audience, is also how you’re going to build loyalty moving forward. My bet is that you’re going to see this messaging start to creep into slogans, social media content, and home pages potentially, above the fold, for a lot of the brands that we love most.
The buzz word of all buzzwords? (laughs) What I think you’ll hear a lot about is telling more diverse stories. What I hope you’ll start to hear is embracing the need for more diverse people telling diverse stories. Meaning not just having diversity in front of the camera, but brands getting focused on who is BEHIND the camera. This means consideration for building a team of diverse talent that will be leading the development of these strategies and campaigns within these companies as well as the ecosystem of agency and production partners and on down to the directors and the VO talent that we’re hiring to bring these stories to life. So, yes, please keep telling more diverse stories, but let’s also start placing more and more emphasis on creating diversity behind the camera– on the teams we construct, and the ecosystem we put together, so we don’t unconsciously bias the story before it was even told.
Data + Technology
What I’m expecting is a plenty of conversation about MarTech stacks, and the new rules around them. This has been a part of the conversation that has been growing and growing and is where art and science really meet. The science of this is becoming impossible to look away from. Automation is our friend when it comes to scaling brands. I think tech stacks are becoming secret weapons for marketing leaders across every industry right now. So, do you have the right MarTech stack for your firm’s goals? That goes a lot deeper than a CRM platform and email flows. You can get pretty surgical with the tech stack today. There are plenty of new tech partners and solutions available to test to find the right options that are going to suit your product, your industry, your leadership style, etc. To me, the key is how are you leveraging these different tools to get the most out of your marketing efforts and then ultimately ROI articulation. So, how are we setting up a tech stack to deliver data and insight into the ecosystem so you can start to create that flywheel of optimization? I think that’s going to be a huge factor in how we start to create an efficient scale going forward.
Brand Creativity + Effectiveness.
If I had to sum it up in a few words, effectiveness is king. I’m just going to bypass the creativity side of this theme. In fact, if you look at the Cannes program for next week, there are all these effectiveness topics slowly creeping in.
I think what’s exciting is that as an industry, we’ve finally moved past the days of burning money in the parking lot. I think the question that we should be asking ourselves as marketing leaders, and as marketers on any given initiative, is how hard is the work going to work for us? That’s got to be the key question you’re asking to kick off every project; is it solving our critical business challenge? How much does it actually move the needle? And how does that math add up to support the investment case?
I think what’s exciting is that as an industry, we’ve finally moved past the days of burning money in the parking lot. I think the question that we should be asking ourselves as marketing leaders, and as marketers on any given initiative, is how hard is the work going to work for us?
Talent is the new target consumer. We’re in a unique moment in time that we haven’t ever seen before. It’s a very, very competitive market, especially for marketers. I think we’re entering a time where one of your main target consumers, as you’re building marketing campaigns, is actually talent. Marketing now must think about how they benefit the firm by building outcomes, and even campaigns, for prospective candidates as a primary or secondary target to the campaign. I also think you’ve seen the impact of high-quality employer brand work that includes DEI, sustainability, culture benefits, or even parental leave. Finding the right way to articulate what makes this the right environment for prospective candidates is the new challenge.
In many ways, business transformation is all of the subjects we’ve just discussed in totality.
There’s never been a better time to move the business commercially as a marketing leader. With flat to declining CMO tenures, and high turnover environments due to a variety of macroeconomic issues, it’s more important than ever to be able to prove the benefits of effective marketing practices. Gone are the days of making beautiful things just for beautiful things sake. This is where brand and performance marketing goals must meet in the middle. You’ve got to be able to tell that story but understanding how to move the business forward and change the trajectory, even for a healthy business, is critical. It has to be the new standard.
There’s never been a better time to move the business commercially as a marketing leader. With flat to declining CMO tenures, and high turnover environments due to a variety of macroeconomic issues, it’s more important than ever to be able to prove the benefits of effective marketing practices. Gone are the days of making beautiful things just for beautiful things sake. This is where brand and performance marketing goals must meet in the middle.