Ketchum@Cannes

June 26, 2017

On a personal level, I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling Cannes Lions experience this year. From introducing Laura Dern, Grace Helbig and our Marcus Peterzell in Classic Hollywood Meets the YouTube Generation on the big stage, to accepting Lions with some of our most valued colleagues, agency partners and clients, to learning from passionate thought leaders and evolving my own perspective on an array of subjects and disciplines, this year certainly stood out in more ways than one.

As coverage in the PR and advertising trade press confirms, it also stood out because last week the PR industry broke through – standing side by side with the biggest advertising, media and digital agencies in the world. Our trades also reported that Ketchum led that break through with 26 Cannes Lion awards, the packed main stage panel on the intersection of entertainment and brands, and a compelling survey with Fast Company that revealed an echo chamber among creatives that could limit creativity.

On my flight home I paused to consider what this success means for our clients and colleagues. It seems to boil down to the following…

Our success in the awards, and the traction that our thought leadership achieved, validates the investments and progress we have made in transforming our agency. We have worked for years now to more effectively use research to get to real insights, hire and develop creative directors to deliver campaign-leading ideas, hire producers and videographers to improve the quality of our visual storytelling and add paid, shared and owned media experts to our core strength in earned media. All of these elements are needed to deliver world-class marketing campaigns and to win at Cannes. The former is more important, the latter a happy by-product.

In my many one-on-one meetings with top-tier CMOs last week it was clear that the brand permission we have to provide integrated communications services across the full spectrum of content and channels has grown and is limitless.

The trade press called our presence at Cannes this year “ubiquitous.” Take a look for yourself…

Achieving ubiquity in the most cluttered marketing environment of all isn’t easy, but it’s a sign we have taken our agency to the next level – both in capability and reputation. That’s a new milestone – and great news for our amazing clients and incredibly talented people.

Rob Flaherty is chairman & CEO of Ketchum, one of the world’s top communication firms, with offices and affiliates in 130 markets in more than 70 countries. Rob leads Ketchum’s Global Leadership Council to guide the strategy, client service and performance of the agency. During Rob’s tenure as CEO, Ketchum has significantly expanded the firm’s social, digital and content capabilities, including opening real-time content marketing hubs called StoryWorks, in dozens of markets. Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.