Reshika Pillay (left in main photo), junior SEO manager and Ruchi Deshmukh (right), sales executive at digital marketing agency Tug Sydney, made their marketing conference debut at this week’s Cannes in Cairns. Here they share some of their highlights from the inspirational Ash Barty to the importance of diversity in leadership and creativity…
This was our first marketing conference since starting working in the industry and it exceeded all our expectations! Great networking, great speakers and great fun.
Cairns didn’t disappoint with beautiful weather and a lovely waterfront. The conference kicked off with Melinda Petrunoff, country manager Australia and New Zealand of Pinterest, who set the tone for the conference of inclusivity and discovery. Then she introduced Ash Barty to inspire us – and this 26-year-old tennis legend held everyone’s attention – from us juniors up to Michael and Mike, the CEOs of News Corp and Nine.
Ruchi and Reshika’s most inspirational talks at Cannes in Cairns
Ash Barty. Her goal is an inclusive world where everyone is comfortable in themselves. When considering brands she works with, the key prerequisite is authenticity. A quote from her we will never forget, when engaging with new people (or your client’s audience), you should “always be interested, not [just try to be] interesting”. In order to gain the trust of your audience and make a positive impact you need to be interested in them, as well as memorable and honest, so that your audience will relate to and believe your message.
Lilian Ahenkan aka FlexMami brought so much energy to the stage on the second day, when many attendees were nursing hangovers from the amazing Pinterest cane farm party the night before. As an influencer for so many brands, it was interesting that she’s never actually seen a good brief. The best briefs in fact were not briefs, but when the client asked her what she could do and what her audience wanted. She also warned, to be truly inclusive in advertising, more thought and care was needed in planning – if the diverse talent is the one telling you on shoot day that you’ve missed the mark, it’s too late.
Embracing the Female Gaze panel session reminded us that traditionally content and advertising is skewed to the male gaze. Tara Mckenty, creative head, Google APAC gave us some amazing data that overall, inclusive creative teams had a 17 per cent better chance of winning an award, because their work is so much more creative and impactful. Lucille McCart, communications director APAC, Bumble told us the importance of diverse leadership, but even if it isn’t (yet), senior leadership needs to be seen driving the diversity agenda. 30 under 30 grand prix winner Anais Read, copywriter, Ogilvy wants to see more inclusivity at every level and role at agencies and clients – so do we!
Ruchi & Reshika’s most informative talks at Cannes in Cairns
Mark Bouris, executive chairman, Yellow Brick road, gave away top tips to build a business:
- Interest – stay consistently interested and eager to learn
- Persistence – stay committed and don’t give up.
- Trending – build in a growing field. There’s no excuse these days not to know the trends.
- Failure – failure is a precondition for success – it proves your resilience.
- Story telling – a captivating story will draw in your audience and build your business.
- Authenticity – key to genuinely connect and create a relationship with your audience.
Data Driven Creativity presented by Adobe taught us that creativity does not have to stop when measurement and metrics are the focus – in fact data can make creativity better and help you better connect with your audience. Shannon Crowe, creative director at Thinkerbell, described data driven creative as “measured magic”. Brent Smart, chief marketing officer, IAG, reminded us the importance of real business insights to drive creativity and the fact that these days there’s so much data that it is often confused with insight – which it is not.
Dishing the dirt on the pitch shared tips on delivering a winning pitch and addressed some controversial issues around pitches. Graham Webster, CEO, Enthdegree stated that theatre in pitches is dead – if you spend four hours dressing the client’s meeting room it actually accentuates your failure if your pitch ideas aren’t good enough. Greg Graham, founder, The Nest Consultancy, controversially said you should never re-pitch. Jen Davidson, MD, Tumbleturn Media, disagreed with Greg and added that clients need to be better at giving feedback on failed pitches – Jen and Graham admitted to often writing feedback for clients that didn’t have the time…
Despite the host Pinterest’s mantra ‘idea to I did’ sessions were aimed more at senior marketing leadership. Don’t get us wrong we learnt lots – but next year we would like to see more real-life case studies and more around how to deliver digital effectiveness, to help inform the more junior end of the industry that focuses on delivering daily results for our clients.
At the end of Day 2 we were disappointed that Martin Sorrell didn’t dial in from the UK due to ‘technical difficulties’… or was it actually ‘accounting difficulties’? (full disclosure: our CEO made us put in that last line!)
Thank you B&T for a wonderful event. See you next year Cannes in Cairns!
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