“You Don’t Need To Be Arty, But Everyone Needs Inspiration”

“You Don’t Need To Be Arty, But Everyone Needs Inspiration”

B&T’s Cannes diarist, IAG’s Mark Pearson (right in photo), is back with his musings on day four. Read on…

I’ve awoken on day Quatre in this French provincial palace, AKA my mid-range Airbnb with a fridge full of cheese and pantry full of snacks. Heaven.

However, my diet consisting mostly of a morning pastry and an evening pinot is starting to catch up with me. I may need to venture out and find a salad STAT!

Ok, enough self-loathing, I have a festival to attend.

First up, Pinterest. As I’m neither crafty or design inclined, I’ve never taken interest in Pinterest. However, they’re running a beach session on inspiration, so I arrive bright and early to find out more. The Global Head of Vertical Strategy, Vikram Bhaskaran, shared with us why it’s important for brands to inspire people and culture.

He gave a brief timeline about inspiration sources. From the divinities in the 1800’s to Andy Warhol in the 1950’s going to the New York Public Library Picture Collection. The key theme was that creative inspiration was not always available to all. Then with the boom of the internet the founders of Pinterest decided to create a tool for collecting creativity.

Fast forward to today, their 250M users have a home from creativity and inspiration, which empowers mindfulness over mindlessness social activity. Love this!

They inspire users to get out and achieve their creative goals off the screen. And this is where the right brands have permission to play, to help build inspiration for users, that can lead to advocacy and even love for brands. This left me with an appreciation for Pinterest and a taste for some interesting brand experimentation I’d like to conduct on the platform.

We’re then back in the classroom, with Edward Pank, MD at WARC. He took us through some lessons from the world’s best campaigns, everything from Ikea to Aldi. As a frequent user of WARC, I was keen to see what lessons of effectiveness he had to share. So here were his top three.

Firstly, effectiveness in low attention environments. Which touched on a range of tools, from multiple marcom touch points, creativity in culture to cut through, the importance of PR for newsworthy moments and the use of emotion to tell your story well. Solid start.

Secondly, the importance of brand recognition. Essentially, how brands should use their distinctive assets and fluent devices, to keep their brand in frame and front of mind when communicating. He used a great example of the Cheetos museum to help articulate this.

Finally, balancing brand building and sales performance. This old chestnut. Peter Field spoke yesterday about this and has recalibrated the ratio slightly between brand building and sales investment. He reports it should be 75 per cent brand and 25 per cnet sales. However, the key take out for me was that neither should seldom exist. When building brands, both should interact with the market simultaneously, so you can capture the low hanging fruit whilst building brand equity. Sounds easy enough but not everyone is doing this.

The effective brands that were case studied, really break through the comms clutter out in the world. So, the last session for the day, was suitable segway.

Twitter and Contagious came in to talk about conversations that have shaped culture. They have used the last five year’s worth of Cannes winners to understand what it takes for brands to break through the noise.

They had five key learnings that really resonated with me around how brands can intersect culture at a pivotal moment to kick off conversation.

  1. Communication beats consumption, essentially brands need to talk about people instead of their products.
  2. Listen to the channels your audience is on and how they are using it.
  3. When you speak to them, speak in your own voice, rather than emulating another.
  4. Don’t expect them to love you, unless you have something important to say. The content needs to resonate on an emotional level to connect and cut through.
  5. Find your right audience. There is mass power in passionate people, they are the tool for amplification.

And that’s a wrap on day Quatre.

With tomorrow being my last day at the festival, I am currently taking applications for a green card marriage, so I never have to leave this place.


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