The reasons why people go to the Cannes Creativity Festival span from winning awards to making deals, to networking with clients to gaining inspiration. And sure, there are some, maybe more than some, who would say that everyone comes to Cannes for the parties and the yachts. But to me, a self-professed Cannes nerd, it’s the serendipitous moments – the ones that broaden our thinking, the ones that open our eyes to a new way of seeing and the ones that give us a new voice – that provide the greatest richness at Cannes.
As usual, there was a dizzying array of speakers and topics to select from. I can’t decide if it is because I was attracted to talks that seemed to fall under one umbrella, or if in fact there is one umbrella under which it all fell but, for me, the big learning or insight I am carrying home is to tap into your passion for the industry we are working in by being the bridge that communications offers the world and do it as only you as an individual can, by being you. And hopefully, a confident you. One who understands your inspiration, uses your imagination and helps bring about motivation.
Curious to see the Festival through a lens other than my own, I asked a selection of our delegates for their biggest takeaways thus far. Here is what they shared…
On Broadening Your Thinking…
“It was fascinating to hear two entirely different types of influencers in China – pianist, educator and philanthropist Lang Lang and China’s most influential vlogger Papi Jiang – discuss their views on creating influence online, and to see global marketers taking notice of the power of China’s celebrities.” – Ray Hu, Beijing
“I enjoyed seeing how various geographic regions are now embracing their distinct cultures and are making embodying the voice of their people a key part of their strategy.” – Rachna Patel, Washington, D.C.
On a New Way of Seeing…
“A particular eye opener was the idea of risk: Take chances, be bold, disrupt one’s linear way of thinking… set a pattern and blow it up. All of these things will make your work more memorable.” – Bob Peterson, New York
“As marketers and as a creative community, we need to stop criticizing or disparaging bold or risky creative work done by others. Instead, we need to support bold thinking – and each other – if we want creativity to thrive.”
– Sue Maloney, San Francisco
“Brands, companies, agencies and even individuals should not need everybody to like them. As Dame Helen Mirren put it, ‘Grow some balls, people, and be yourself!’” – Anna-Maria Pospich, Berlin
“Creativity, at its core, is problem-solving. Taking advantage of unexpected opportunities, attempting a new format for communicating, maneuvering through last-minute changes to an event you’re producing – all of it keeps you on your toes and ensures that you’re open to a unforeseen fix or a left-field stroke of insight.”
– Jeff Lewonczyk, New York
On Digging Deep…
“As communicators we can’t just go through the motions, we have to invest. In order to do authentic work, we really have to be prepared to delve around inside ourselves to find some truths.” – Ruth Yearley, London
On Finding Your Voice…
“Clients are becoming more and more curious about Cannes. There are companies that we know will send significant delegations every year, but more and more clients are sending scouts to see what the Lions are all about. I encourage it and am encouraged by it. Many see the Lions as a vanity, but I think it’s instructive. Entering the awards forces you to face the rigor of good marketing.”
– Tera Miller, Chicago
“As discussed in the ‘You are Dumber than You Think’ session, we all live in filter bubbles in which we create our own filtered reality. We’re not nearly as open to new information as we assume. We think we like learning but what we really like is validation. We yield to our own biases and what confirms our long-held notions and thinking.” – Rob Flaherty, New York
No matter what the specific takeaway each of us as individuals had, I’d like to think we all walked away inspired and energized to be bolder communicators, as only each of us as individuals can be. And as a result, to do bolder, better work that underscores the richness of diverse thinking.