Biggest learning from Cannes? The need for speed.

Biggest learning from Cannes? The need for speed.

Everyone has a different opinion and different experience of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Personally, I loved it. 

It was a break from the norm to go and listen, learn, appreciate and experience the wider creative on the go at the moment but most importantly—challenging thinking.

What do we need to think about? We’ve had a few years of change, and continuing to look out for when you need change is important.

Now if you’re one of those people who know it all, don’t bother continuing to read but if, like me, you want to be better at what you’re doing, every day, here we go…!

Outtakes from this year’s festival and please note, these are my own views based on speaker conversations.

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds talked about things he recognises in our industry (and you may wonder why he was there but if you read up about his marketing passion and background, it is clear he actually isn’t just an actor saying words, he has relevance…)

  • Move at speed – “culture moves fast”, those who can react, respond to the world around us will win people over. It really is a no-brainer but he talked about instances where brands he had worked with having 9-12 month campaign creation, by which point you’ve missed cultural relevance. He did go on to say, one size doesn’t fit all but to do it best, move quick

  • Add humour, where relevant – consumers often know they’re being marketed to so own and adapt the conversation

  • Put the brand at the heart of the creative – why hide from it, make the brand THE conversation. He talked about the Superbowl and that, at times, you’d remember the ‘talent’ but not the product they marketed

  • Perfection isn’t always the reality – as he said, don’t be afraid to be bad at something in order to be good. He talked about starting with a bad version of something to talk it through, brainstorm, adapt

  • Better stories will be told through having a collection of different mindsets – ensure that workplaces diversify their thinking

  • “The enemy of creativity is too much time and too much money” – often the best creative comes when you’re at speed or you’ve got to make something work for the budget in hand.

He also announced Creative Ladder this year—an initiative to help students from all backgrounds learn about creative careers and offers leadership training for those beginning their journeys.

LinkedIn’s CEO Ryan Roslansky

Talk in the language of who you want to convince with creative. He cited the example of James Watt who, when he built a steam engine received criticism from workers who were reliant on horses in the mining community. So, to convince them why steam engines were right for the job at hand, he referred to their power in ‘horse power’ – and it worked. 10 horses were as powerful as one steam engine machine.

  • Innovation + promise-making – brands that stand out are those that do just this; those that will grow will make promises and stick to them. Promises that will help onward generations

  • Gen Z are more active movers in the job world – motivating and inspiring this generation is VITAL to the workforce

  • Tech (data, insights, analytics) is a core element driving the creative narrative

  • Look out for the unexpected “growth” brands – don’t discount them because you don’t know them or haven’t heard of them, actively look out for them and be part of their growth as you’ll likely be supporting the new TikTok

  • Creative B2B is going to be important – as the B2B journey continues to expand.

Diageo’s leading ladies Carol Montgomery from Guinness side, and Jennifer English from Baileys and Roe&Co side

They discussed the power and importance of sustainability in communications. Important things to think about:

  • Mindsets are shifting, ensure your communication does too – many consumers now want to support sustainable culture therefore having a strong narrative around this is important

  • Shift sustainability conversation within comms, marketing, and social teams - from solely corporate narrative to impactful consumer culture

  • Sustainability isn’t a ‘one-time’ campaign – you need to think about the holistic and longer-term view; integrate sustainability within your business.

Edelman’s Jackie Cooper (and leading PR inspiration) talked to new ZEO and fashion designer Harris Reed

Talking about changing the way we think, act and communicate with the Gen Z audience.

  • Move on from traditional ways - as a society, we’re changing, and our communications have to too

  • Understand the new audiences that emerge and adapt your communication – Gen Z is a generation that cares, they’re interested in change – and brands that are too

  • We need to inspire the bigger corporations and brands to find elements that ‘do good’ – the ‘wow’ factor but with meaning, rather than purpose – or they’ll lose audiences

  • Change can’t be a ‘token’ gesture - or one for commercial gain.

R/GA’s Tiffany Rolfe and Tom Morton guided us through ‘who do you want to be in the Metaverse’?

It certainly provoked thought, an area to learn and listen about…

And you may think, why does this relate to creativity? This isn’t a topic that is going away and, rightly so, campaigns shortlisted and winning awards have the Metaverse in there. 

  • Virtual spaces are real – and it is a ‘safe’ place for people to feel comfortable and it is an inclusive environment

  • There are huge benefits too for people in the Metaverse (and elements we can think about from a creative stance too) – improves mental health, improves social interaction, inspires us to do fun things, integrates us with nature

  • Metaverse operates at speed - 1 month in an NFT is like a year in the real world

  • You can become an avatar in the Metaverse but let’s not forget the avatars (brand characters) that have always been here – Tony the Tiger is a case in point!

  • Brands also have tapped into Metaverse well – look at Samsung who debuted their new phone in the Metaverse.

Then finally, one of the most incredible speakers, actress Lupita Nyong’o

She spoke about finding your community but also marketing correctly with consideration for different cultures and backgrounds.

  • It is imperative to be open to a multitude of stories – it is (human) nature to story tell

  • There is real power in authentic storytelling – stories ignite empathy

  • Give yourself permission to fail.

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