Part of what I do is speak to groups of people — from agencies, students, marketers and strategy planners — to whom I preach the gospel of Lions Festivals. I was asked at one of these gatherings: “How do you keep up with all the changes that are happening in the industry?”.
My response, I suspect, was sobering. The fact is you cannot keep up with all the changes; such is the rate of change, you can only do your best, look forward, not backward, and absorb in any way vital and valuable information that you need to have to keep you relevant in your career.
One of the massive changes we have seen at our festivals is the attendance by the marketing fraternity — once Cannes Lions was the domain of the creative (after all it is ‘The Festival of Creativity’). Now the marketer is attending in very large numbers.
Interestingly they are not there to change events, they are there to learn about creativity, to understand the difference between great work and the not so great, and to discover how they can put it to work.
Open to new ideas
Another reason they attend is to show to the creative community that they are open to new ideas and fresh and original thinking. After all it is pretty compelling to the creative community to know that the client wants them to tell great stories and come up with big ideas.
Whilst 23 per cent of all delegates at Cannes Lions are marketers, we have not yet reached this number at Lynx although it is tracking into double-digit figures. It will continue to grow for all the reasons mentioned: creativity, new ideas, learning and relevance, which reminds me of another couple of reasons that marketers attend.
They know through many studies that ads that win awards sell more products. So if you have a great creative execution it actually delivers more on the bottom-line.
The second reason is that one idea, one moment of inspiration can pay you back thousand-fold in terms of the investment from attending the event. Both compelling reasons in themselves add to a deep and rich learning, the need to stay in front and the need to understand where the market is heading. It really is quite compelling for any marketer to attend an event like Lynx or Cannes Lions.
That, of course, is great news for our industry. It is also a reality for the people servicing the marketers that they must do the same. If you want to truly serve your client you need to know as much as they do, if not more.
— The writer is the Chairman of Lions Festivals.