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The Talk at Cannes: Day Three

The Talk at Cannes: Day Three

Stéphane Mailhiot

Stéphane Mailhiot

June 20, 2018

Several successful entrepreneurs, a famed comedian, and an athlete turned mega businessman all stress the importance of purpose and genuineness.

Today’s three big ideas from the Cannes Lions.

 

1. THE GOLDEN AGE OF B2C: BUSINESS TO CHINESE

The influence of the Chinese market, the rise of new technology, and China’s new openness to the world have made understanding Chinese culture is key for many marketers and advertisers. With scores of conferences about Chinese consumers, attitudes, and perception of the famous “Made in China” label, China was on everyone’s lips at The Forum on Wednesday.

In China, a new generation is transforming consumption and brand building like never before. Previously, emerging individualism launched the conspicuous strutting of luxury logos for fashion, but that was recently replaced by more discrete forms of brand bragging. Today, the desire to balance individualism and cultural collectivism has led to the revival of traditional Chinese culture in brand building. Instead of going for recognized international brands, the Chinese consumers are increasingly buying brands that proudly depict Chinese names and celebrate their heritage.

In her talk, “Finding Meaning in China’s Post-Consumerism Culture,” Laura Liang, Chief Strategy Officer of DDB China Group, explained the new attitudes of the emerging middle-class, highlighting how the new generation is progressively changing its consumption behavior from luxury to experience, from ostentatious to meaningful, from showy to purpose-driven brands.

 

2. ATHLETES MUST BECOME STORYTELLERS TO SPREAD THEIR MESSAGE

Sports mostly focus on the results. We tend not to see the discipline, perseverance, and personal struggles of individual athletes. We don’t always see the full story. Athletes need to share those other stories to bridge the gap between incredible performance and true human connection. And those stories must go beyond the all-too-frequent stats obsessions, as most of us are not fantasy-sports geeks and cannot relate to mere numbers.

By sharing their personal stories, athletes can rise above the question of victory or defeat and become influential voices. During “Changing the Game: Evolving from Athletes to Creator, Olympic Medalist and Soccer Superstar”, Abby Wambach, the retired U.S. soccer player, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first-ever Olympic medalist to compete wearing a hijab, describe their journey from athletes to advocates for social change.

If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around the notion that good stories outplay performance, join us at Havas Café on Friday for the Iceland match at the FIFA Man’s World Cup (as Wambach likes to call it).

 

3. STAYING TRUE TO YOUR BELIEFS IN A FAST-CHANGING WORLD: FINDING BALANCE BETWEEN IMMUTABLE PURPOSE AND SURVIVAL OF THE FASTEST

Two conferences addressed the topic of purpose and evolution in a fast-changing competitive environment—but from very different angles. While one challenged brands to evolve and constantly transform themselves, the other reiterated the risks brands run of losing their “soul” if they try to adapt to every new trend.

Digital agency turned consulting firm, R/GA delivered a very passionate and incredibly interesting talk on the importance of business, experience, and marketing transformation. They argued for a culture of speed that would enable brands to plan for change and make those changes before competitors. Every industry is experiencing disruption right now, but if the entire industry doesn’t get challenged by external forces, then it’s not disruption—it’s just you losing faster to a competitor who is more adaptable. In such cases, R/GA recommends launching a business transformation process.

The second conference, “Founder’s Formula: Pioneering for Purposeful Growth,” presented by Unilever, mentioned the importance of keeping brand purpose alive. With “sustainable living brands” outperforming the market, gone are the days when a product succeeded because of its functional superiority; values and consistency are now key to delivering purpose-fueled products and services.

Both of these ideas can be activated for brands if they clearly define the unalterable purpose of the brand and constantly adapt to create a state-of-the-art customer experience. It’s the best way to build consistency AND relevancy.

Today’s three big ideas from the Cannes Lions.

 

1. THE GOLDEN AGE OF B2C: BUSINESS TO CHINESE

The influence of the Chinese market, the rise of new technology, and China’s new openness to the world have made understanding Chinese culture is key for many marketers and advertisers. With scores of conferences about Chinese consumers, attitudes, and perception of the famous “Made in China” label, China was on everyone’s lips at The Forum on Wednesday.

In China, a new generation is transforming consumption and brand building like never before. Previously, emerging individualism launched the conspicuous strutting of luxury logos for fashion, but that was recently replaced by more discrete forms of brand bragging. Today, the desire to balance individualism and cultural collectivism has led to the revival of traditional Chinese culture in brand building. Instead of going for recognized international brands, the Chinese consumers are increasingly buying brands that proudly depict Chinese names and celebrate their heritage.

In her talk, “Finding Meaning in China’s Post-Consumerism Culture,” Laura Liang, Chief Strategy Officer of DDB China Group, explained the new attitudes of the emerging middle-class, highlighting how the new generation is progressively changing its consumption behavior from luxury to experience, from ostentatious to meaningful, from showy to purpose-driven brands.

 

2. ATHLETES MUST BECOME STORYTELLERS TO SPREAD THEIR MESSAGE

Sports mostly focus on the results. We tend not to see the discipline, perseverance, and personal struggles of individual athletes. We don’t always see the full story. Athletes need to share those other stories to bridge the gap between incredible performance and true human connection. And those stories must go beyond the all-too-frequent stats obsessions, as most of us are not fantasy-sports geeks and cannot relate to mere numbers.

By sharing their personal stories, athletes can rise above the question of victory or defeat and become influential voices. During “Changing the Game: Evolving from Athletes to Creator, Olympic Medalist and Soccer Superstar”, Abby Wambach, the retired U.S. soccer player, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first-ever Olympic medalist to compete wearing a hijab, describe their journey from athletes to advocates for social change.

If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around the notion that good stories outplay performance, join us at Havas Café on Friday for the Iceland match at the FIFA Man’s World Cup (as Wambach likes to call it).

 

3. STAYING TRUE TO YOUR BELIEFS IN A FAST-CHANGING WORLD: FINDING BALANCE BETWEEN IMMUTABLE PURPOSE AND SURVIVAL OF THE FASTEST

Two conferences addressed the topic of purpose and evolution in a fast-changing competitive environment—but from very different angles. While one challenged brands to evolve and constantly transform themselves, the other reiterated the risks brands run of losing their “soul” if they try to adapt to every new trend.

Digital agency turned consulting firm, R/GA delivered a very passionate and incredibly interesting talk on the importance of business, experience, and marketing transformation. They argued for a culture of speed that would enable brands to plan for change and make those changes before competitors. Every industry is experiencing disruption right now, but if the entire industry doesn’t get challenged by external forces, then it’s not disruption—it’s just you losing faster to a competitor who is more adaptable. In such cases, R/GA recommends launching a business transformation process.

The second conference, “Founder’s Formula: Pioneering for Purposeful Growth,” presented by Unilever, mentioned the importance of keeping brand purpose alive. With “sustainable living brands” outperforming the market, gone are the days when a product succeeded because of its functional superiority; values and consistency are now key to delivering purpose-fueled products and services.

Both of these ideas can be activated for brands if they clearly define the unalterable purpose of the brand and constantly adapt to create a state-of-the-art customer experience. It’s the best way to build consistency AND relevancy.

Stéphane Mailhiot is SVP and Head of Strategy at Havas Montréal

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