Learnings from Lions: Optimizing Creative Effectiveness and Data Efficiency
“Catch me if you Cannes!” say the one out of ten marketers who have all the tools they need and are using them fully.* This week at Cannes, transformation conversations centered on effectiveness and efficiency. Technology solutions enable efficient use of data, and amplify creative work while providing accountability for measurable and meaningful effectiveness. Here are our takeaways from this year’s time on the Croisette.
“Transformation” is a perennial winner in the game of industry buzzword bingo. From my perspective, though, we are now on the far side of digital transformation. This week at Cannes, transformation conversations centered on effectiveness and efficiency. Technology solutions enable efficient use of data, and amplify creative work while providing accountability for measurable and meaningful effectiveness.
Cannes Lions is the Festival of Creativity, and in my time here over the years, I’ve watched technology and creative grow closer in the collaborations and campaigns taking home the trophies at the Palais. Technology is no longer just a bright-and-shiny hook for an idea, but a powerful enabler and amplifier of creative results that hit the brand’s bottom line by delighting consumers.
My colleague Mariam Asmar, Head of Strategic Consulting at Braze, built her career on the agency side, and clearly sees what’s happening: “There is a sweet spot where compelling brand messaging and ROI performance can naturally overlap. Forward-thinking brands and their agencies no longer buy into the duality of short-term tactics driving results, and long-term creative campaigns building the brand,” she told me. “We’re collapsing the funnel through shared data-backed insights that inspire creative thinking, and technology provides a multiplier effect for the great collaborative work that results.”
I met with many of our solutions partners this week, and heard much the same from them. Everyone seems eager to leave behind the siloed structures and work processes that are a legacy of channel-centric thinking and the pay-to-play system built around easy access to third-party data. Now that the third-party faucet is turned down to a dribble in a post-cookie world, there’s a premium on the tools and expertise that make the most of a brand’s own first-party data. At Braze, that’s been our mission from the start, and it’s gratifying to be recognized for our ability to transform a business through agile streaming data that creates a real-time view of what matters to each customer in the moment.
When I checked in with Braze Cofounder and CEO Bill Magnuson as he headed to the airport, he agreed that the tenor of discussions had changed. However, there's still a lot of progress to be made before we're free from the many silos that limit customer-centric thinking and the creative use of technology. “The lowest hanging fruit for innovation often sits at the cross-section of disciplines and specialized talent. Nevertheless, across many conversations this week, it was increasingly apparent that brand and agency leadership alike have elevated their thinking about customer engagement. They’ve risen above the artificial separation of channels and mediums to focus on finding where their business goals and customer needs converge," Bill said. "By arming creative marketing teams with the agility of modern technology like Braze and the confidence that solid data foundations provide, they can better experiment and take creative risks. That conviction to bring customer-centric strategy to life without inhibiting creativity with technical barriers naturally creates better results for both brands and customers, and it's extremely inspiring to see in action.”
As stewards of our industry, let’s hold onto the energy created by once again coming together in real life to celebrate the best of the best in creative work. Let’s drop easy references to “transformation” in favor of the tough, but rewarding, collaboration that will ensure accountability for efficiency and effectiveness. And let’s do it while amplifying creativity rather than dumbing it down for performance’s sake. Consumers expect nothing less, and today we have the tools to deliver, not just some of the time, but all of the time.
*Source: WARC Marketer’s Toolkit 2021