Cannes Lions 2018 was awash with new ways of thinking. From adopting a growth mindset, to redefining femininity with creativity, to embracing a risk-taking approach to branded content, there was plenty of valuable insight on hand.
We pass along the inspiring details we learned while at last week’s event.
Adopting A Growth Mindset
No brand can afford to rest on its laurels. They must always be focused on what’s next—a sentiment that underscored a session by digital marketing agency 360i and Mondelez International about the difference between “fixed” and “growth” thinking.
Mondelez CMO Jason Levine explained: “[Fixed thinkers] believe that intelligence and ability are fixed traits and that you either have it or you don’t. But there are other people limited not by what is available to them, but by what’s possible. They believe that ability can be developed over time through dedication and hard work.”
Citing Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, who came up with the terms, Levine explained that a growth mindset can lead to developing better skills, relationships, and, ultimately, better business. He challenged brands to broaden their minds in the digital age.
“From voice to e-commerce, from brand safety to big data, there’s a lot of fantastic things for us to tackle,” he said. “What we need to do is surround ourselves with teams who are as much in love with the problem as they are with the solution.”
Well-aware that the link between startups and fresh thinking is often made, 360i chairwoman Sarah Hofstetter cited The New York Times as an example of a company with a growth mindset. Amid the decline of print journalism, the publisher, established in 1851, created The Daily, a news podcast with more than 20 million active listeners. The company also used its paper delivery trucks to provide more than 1 million Google Cardboard headsets to its home-delivery subscribers, offering them access to virtual reality in the process.
Hofstetter concluded: “It took a fresh look at what it means to build brands today.”
Redefining Feminity With Creativity
Droga5 and CoverGirl took to the stage to talk about what femininity means today and how that’s reflected in the beauty industry. The brand has been working hard to buck traditional beauty trends to deliver a message of empowerment to people of all backgrounds.
“CoverGirl, especially in North America, is an icon, and any statement we make on beauty is really a statement on culture,” explained CoverGirl senior vice president Ukonwa Ojo. “So, one of the hardest jobs for the Cover Girl team is the decision on who’s going to be the next CoverGirl ... because we know we’re making a statement on culture about what beauty looks like. And so, every year, for us, the challenge is how we expand that definition.”
The brand prioritises three key types of diversity: ethnicity, age, and vocation, all of which are all represented in its “I am what I make up” campaign. Featuring ambassadors such as model and dietitian Maye Musk, professional motorcycle racer Shelina Moreda, and certified personal trainer Massy Arias, the campaign, in CoverGirl’s words, is about celebrating the power to create who you are and discover who you want to be.
“It had to be a celebration of something positive,” Droga5 group strategy director Katy Alonzo told Cannes attendees. “So often when we think about beauty we go in with very narrow, very negative associations. We had to take a step back from all these assumptions and listen to consumers.”
The approach resonated, with the campaign reaching 30.1 million people on Facebook and Instagram alone.
The panel was joined by Issa Rae, actress, writer, director and producer, as well as a CoverGirl Ambassador, who emphasised the importance, above all, of honesty in brand communications.
“Tell the truth,” she insisted. “Authenticity is so important in this time. If you’re creating something that you don’t totally believe in, don’t do it. If there’s a trend and you feel like you need to hop on it, but there’s no degree of earnestness or absolute care, then hop off! It’s not for you.”
Embracing A New Approach To Branded Content
In a wide-ranging discussion on the power of film to drive brand messaging, Saville Productions founder Rupert Maconick described how he started with a brief for branded video content for tech company Netscout and finished up with a feature-length documentary directed by Werner Herzog.
“Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World,” premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. By gambling on a project that initially looked expensive and unconventional, the agency and its client achieved incredible reach and unusual levels of credibility at a much lower cost than a highly promoted short film would. The results speak for themselves: the most new business inquiries in NetScout’s 30-year history, a 10-times increase in NetScout’s annual impressions, and three Cannes Lions awards, including the Gold Lion for Excellence in Audience Engagement and Distribution Strategy.
“I think a lot of people with marketing degrees think that the brand has to be the hero, and the truth is that you have to find something that an audience actually wants to watch,” Maconick said.