Experiment, re-define, join-up. What Cannes Lions showed us

The sheer range of speakers at this year’s Cannes Festival of Creativity, including Pharrell Williams, Jamie Oliver, Tim Berners-Lee and Kim Kardashian West, was as eclectic as the topics that were covered. If you haven’t seen it, check out @itsjamesherring a poem composed entirely from Cannes Lions Panel titles. Just as key note speakers used enticing presentation titles to compete for festival-goers attention, brands pulled their own stunts. Uber, for example, launched the Ubercopter for those who feared missing a Cannes magic moment and were willing to pay $180 to travel from Nice airport to the festival in just seven minutes. So from all the conversations, celebration, inspiration and learning under the Riviera sun, what were our key take-outs?

When was the last time you experimented?

Jamie Oliver at Cannes Lions 2105

The scale of platform innovation showcased was exciting. Facebook showed its prototype of the next generation of immersive mobile ads, Instagram and Snapchat also announced updates. Google's Cardboard took home the Grand Prix in mobile, recognised for its role in facilitating other campaigns. It’s clear that marketers need to commit to understanding and experimenting with new channel capabilities. Standing still is a sure-fire recipe for failure.

When did you last define the customer experience?

Defining the experience your consumers seek and the role your brand plays in shaping those experiences is not a ‘one and done’ – it continues to shift and fast. As marketers we need to understand what people want and mobilise the organisation to deliver it, as Will Sansom of Contagious Communications talked about when he said “Our goal as marketers should be to get people exactly what they want when they want it."

What did you last learn from collaboration?

Pharrell Williams Cannes Lions 2015

Value is created in the connections between teams. Just as the collision of different ideas made the discussion much richer in Cannes, it’s the responsibility of every function in an organisation to help shape the customer experience. It’s at the intersection of functions where value can be lost. It’s in organisations where all the functions unite around defining the customer experience, that missing customer value can be found. As Pharrell Williams said "It’s not a real collaboration if you’re not learning something". Joined-up thinking across functions creates new learning that can build better customer experiences.

When did you last cut activity in favour of quality?

Having spent a week listening to so many different points of view on the future of brands and creativity, our final take-out was that in the face of temptation to do it all and go for quantity, we need to pull back and focus on what will drive quality into our customer experiences. After all, as John Lasseter of Pixar said a couple of years ago, “quality is the best business plan”.

If you want to lift the quality of your customer experience, get in touch. Our consultants are expert at lifting the capabilities of people and organisations, across sales, marketing, digital and leadership teams.

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 All photos used with kind permission of Cannes Lions.