Cannes Lions Innovation has become a mainstay for advertisers and marketers across the world. I spent last week there and came away with more than a tan - here are the top five takeaways from the event.
Technology Can Inspire Creativity
The overarching theme of the entire event was how marketers can best use creativity and technology to drive results. With the rise of digital marketing has come the ability to generate and use massive amounts of data. This data makes it easy to track what campaigns, channels, and more are working. However, some marketers have (wrongly) assumed that the influx of data-driven marketing removes all possibility for creativity.
The opposite is true. Data empowers creativity - it helps marketers better understand what resonates with their customers. We can then use that information to create more exciting, beautiful, branded experiences for them.
David Droga, Creative Chairman of Droga5, said it best: "I love the friction between creativity and data. Data and science is liberating for creativity because it offers a foundation. We're not scared of it."
Snapchat Is Just Getting Started
Snapchat was everywhere at Cannes. CEO Evan Spiegel spoke at the festival, and the social network had a significant sponsorship presence.
There's a lot of hype around Snapchat - and for good reason. The app has the most engaged users out of any social media network, with its monthly active user base sitting at about 300 million.
However, the platform as an ad solution is less clear. Seventy-one percent of users use the app only or mostly for peer-to-peer messaging, with only 5% using the app only or mostly for Discover, love content, and following brands. Snapchat also has a hard time providing in-depth insights and analytics to its advertisers, but you can expect this to change as the social network builds out more and more ad solutions. According to Spiegel, more is coming: "We release one or two percent of the products that we're working on. We build stuff all the time that we're never going to release."
Agile Methodology Works
For those unfamiliar with the concept, agile marketing is a tactical approach that allows for more flexibility and speed in implementing and executing new marketing marketing projects. At Cannes, agile came up frequently, most often in reference to the structure of agencies. Most agencies, as of now, are siloed, making it hard for brands to consolidate their marketing efforts.
Many presenters at Cannes spoke about how major agencies are beginning to restructure themselves to allow for more agility and collaboration. Hopefully these changes will make it easier for smaller businesses to work with just one agency moving forward.
Content Shock Is Real
With the proliferation of technologies like blogging platforms, social networks, and website builders, anyone can become a blogger, journalist or content creator. As Mark Schaefer put it, we're in an epoch of Content Shock: So much content is being created that it surpasses our ability to consume it. Several panelists touched on this dilemma at Cannes, highlighting the challenges it creates for marketers in all industries.
What does this mean for your business? Your content needs to be high quality and engaging, or no one will pay attention to it. At Cannes, presenters talked about using video, interactive content, and other innovative tactics to deliver a delightful content experience that will stand out amongst all the noise.
Cannes Is Expensive
This is probably the understatement of the week. Between all of the yacht parties, private island excursions, exclusive club nights, and VIP wine tastings, expenses for sponsors add up. For companies like Twitter, Snapchat, and OMD, these expenses don't take too much out of the budget. But for smaller companies and startups, Cannes can be almost prohibitively expensive if not done correctly.
To succeed at events like this one, smaller companies need to get creative. Think outside the box about how your team can participate without fronting a yacht party and destroying your marketing budget. That might be applying for Unilever's Foundry 50, networking like crazy to get invited to these parties, or being ready to demo your product on your phone when the moment arises.