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Cannes Round Two
By Richard Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight ,Culture ,Innovation
Jamie Oliver Richard Edelman

President and CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman, reflects on his second time attending the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, including his personal highlight; an hour-long conversation on the main stage with superstar chef Jamie Oliver

I am just back from my second trip to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France where my personal highlight was an hour-long conversation on the main stage with superstar chef Jamie Oliver, who was a delightful conversation partner. We covered a wide range of topics, from his commitment to improving youth nutrition to his attitude toward innovation (he said that he had failed in nearly half of his ideas but plunged ahead nevertheless).

Edelman had a great showing again this year in the Cannes Lions PR category, with a Gold Lion for the Adobe* Photoshop Halloween Murder Mystery campaign, solidifying Adobe’s role, not just as a tool for creativity, but as the creative brand. We also won three awards for Unilever’s Dove* (two bronze and one silver), plus another silver for Adobe and a bronze for the American Egg Board’s* Eggs and Bacon (that is Kevin Bacon) program.

Here are a few observations on the four days at Cannes:

1.The PR Industry Is Coming On — For the first time, PR firms won the majority of the Lions in the PR category. The Lions won by ad agencies such as the pop-up gun shop in New York City from Grey New York were well deserved. Our work needs to be more “Show” and less reliant on “Tell.” We also need to achieve more tangible business objectives.

2. Short Form Video Works — An eight-second video of a kid jumping into water with a pair of Keds sneakers was beautiful and effective. A researcher on video said that handsome guys and cute dogs are overrated in terms of virality… better to make the brand the hero.

3. The Blurring of Born Digital and Mainstream Media — Snapchat Live, a platform for on the scene reporting by citizen journalists, is now being used by eleven media companies including Conde Nast, Hearst and National Geographic to post “capsules of content.” A stunning statistic from Snapchat: 20 percent of those who attend an NBA game are posting content to Snapchat Live.

4. Entertain Then Inform — The United Nations is launching its Global Goals with an ad on movie screens around the world done by Sir John Hegerty and film maker Richard Curtis, which then allows personal pledges of money or action via a cell phone app. Curtis said, “It cannot be how dire our situation is. It must be how we can do it.”

5. Privacy and Data — WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said that the holding company is aggregating data from its research companies to assemble a way to compete with Google and Facebook. “As long as the consumer knows what the data is being used for, then it is ok for us to use it. The consumer must get value in return for use of his or her data. Total transparency is necessary.” A senior executive from Intel said that people need to own their data. “If I trust your company, I will share my data. At the moment, it’s too hard to understand what’s happening with my data.”

6. The Best Lincoln Meme — Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, said that we are moving from marketing to people (broadcast advertising) and with the people (curation) to marketing for the people with ideas that are trusted and transform business.

7. Ephemeral Versus Anonymous — Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said his community offers up its phone numbers so that his company can offer “good targeting.”

8. Video Ads in Middle — Pre-roll ads are irritating and not as effective as placement in the midst of editorial.

9. Much of Best Work for NGOs — A good example is Ogilvy’s work on female genital mutilation, with stitches sewing together national flags from developed nations such as the UK that had been sundered and dotted with blood with the tag line “It Happens Here.” Another is the work for UNICEF by Y&R in Chile on bullying, with young boys with cell phones intimidating a “nerd” who cowers under the sink in the men’s room. To combat violence at soccer games in Brazil, a local NGO hired a bunch of mothers of fans, put them in jerseys with the label Security Moms and had them all over the stadium.

10. Funniest Work — The Hands Off Experience, which advertised free access to a pornographer’s entire library if the online user was able to keep his hands on the keyboard for the entire viewing session. A distant second was the Inactivity Tracker for Joe Boxer pajamas, tracking lack of physical movement.

I have concluded that Cannes is a perfect pair with Davos for Edelman and others in our sector. I come home more convinced than ever that PR firms can compete for the lead creative idea, for community activation and for continuous storytelling. We have to reclassify our work as communications marketing so that we are able to initiate the concepts, not simply magnify advertising creative. Our advantages include speed, innate sense of news and convergence of brand marketing with reputation. When I leaned over to Jackie Cooper, our global creative director, during the outdoor advertising Lions, and muttered, “Wow, we could have done that campaign,” she responded, “Well, then, why don’t we damn well do it and stop talking about it.” Now there is a cactus under my saddle until we return in 2016.

This article originally appeared on Richard Edelman’s 6A.M. Blog.

*Edelman Client

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

How Tech Leaders Target “a Giant Leap for Energy”

Corporate Reputation ,Energy ,Innovation

Bill Gates’ upbeat assessment of the feasibility of new forms of energy in an interview with the FT provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the man who co-founded Microsoft and drove the microchip revolution.

Bill Gates’ upbeat assessment of the feasibility of new forms of energy in an interview with the FT provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the man who co-founded Microsoft and drove the microchip revolution.

Gates told the FT that he has invested $1bn (£650m) into more than 40 energy ventures and plans to double his investment in green technologies to around £1.3bn.

Gates detailed a number of ambitious projects which if successful will revolutionise how we source energy.  Gates’ positive articulation of the opportunities in clean-tech present a positive vision of a non-too-distant future.

Projects range from “nuclear recycling”, where reactors will be powered by depleted uranium to “artificial photosynthesis” which could lead to devices that harness sunlight to split water into hydrogen fuel.

One project sure to capture the public’s imagination is high-altitude wind power that harnesses the kinetic energy of kites and flying turbines to capture previously inaccessible energy.

Another company funded by Gates is Calgary-based Carbon Engineering which is commercialising technology that removes and captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.  The captured CO² can be used commercially by industry and consumers.

Significantly, Gates calls for governments to invest tens of billions to prioritise zero-carbon energy sources. While the idea of investment into renewable energy on the same scale as the Manhattan Project and Apollo moon missions might sound fanciful in an age of austerity the challenge of arresting rising carbon emissions demands radical solutions.

As an experienced global business leader, Gates succeeds in talking convincingly about the feasibility of new forms of energy. When Bill Gates speaks investors listen.

It is highly instructive to see that business leaders who made their fortune in technology now see energy as the big opportunity.  In April, Elon Musk, a tech-pioneer, launched the vision of the battery powered home. Tesla’s lithium-ion storage batteries charges using electricity generated from solar power and “powers your home in the evening”. The launch generated excitement around the world to the reality of offgrid power.

By highlighting his burgeoning energy portfolio in the FT, Gates directly reaches a broad audience of global business and government audiences. His point that some energy investors will reap returns like those who invested in Microsoft, Apple or Google when they started out, is a positive one and not lost on anyone.

Microsoft is an Edelman client.

Written by: Michael Zdanowski, Associate Director at Edelman

Visiting The Windy City


Edelman UK's Head of Recruitment heads to Chi-town to visit Edelman's offices and meet global team members. Here's what she had to say about the experience.

In May of this year, I was invited to our Chicago office to participate in some training for a new recruitment system we are in the midst of implementing. Although I have spent time in the US before, I had not visited Chicago so it was a great opportunity for me to see and explore somewhere new. Driving in to Chicago from the airport, the first thing I noticed was the sky line, which was stunning. With rivers and canals running through the city and sky high buildings, it really is a sight. In fact, it is only when you start walking the streets of Chi-town (as it is affectionately called) do you come to realise the sheer size of these sky scrapers and the beauty of them. Most have been built in different era’s over the last 200 years so their architecture is very different and gives the city a diverse and rich texture. Our office in Chicago, the AON centre, is America’s fourth tallest building. With our floors being at the top end of the building, many days you can look out of the window and see fog or alternatively, landmarks of the city including Navy Pier.

Just like our office in London, the Chicago office was a hive of activity. With the NFL drawer in town, the excitement levels were high as we had a Hall of Fame player coming to do a Q&A with the staff. Deion Sanders was charming and memorable and really set the tone for the highly anticipated weekend ahead. Football is HUGE in the US. When I wasn’t in training, I was spending time with my US colleagues which was fantastic. Not only to put faces to names but to also share thoughts and ideas which was invaluable. In my free time, I was determined to see as many Chicago attractions as possible, from visiting the Art Institute of Chicago to walking through the Millennium Park to catch a glimpse of the famous ‘bean’ and of course no trip to Chicago is complete without eating deep pan pizza, listening to the blues and shopping. Tick, tick, tick!

One major thing that really stood out to me about our office in the windy city is that we have a museum. That’s right! A room filled with photos of how and where Edelman began and our accomplishments throughout the decades, alongside the amazing clients we have had the opportunity to work with. Not only did I feel very fortunate to be travelling with work, it also reinforced to me how much Edelman has to offer.

Written by: Tamara Lewis, Head of Recruitment, UK & Europe at Edelman

The Power of the Earned Brand
By Richard Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight ,Culture ,Innovation
make your mark

Our business has a surfeit of new tools at our disposal, from personalised advertising to target direct marketing and dynamic content creation. And yet, we are in danger of losing our consumer. Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman on trust and innovation, from Cannes Lions Festival 2015.

The life of the consumer is transformed daily by a rush of innovations.

Want to change the temperature of your home remotely? No problem, use Nest. Need a great dress for the weekend party? Easy, use Rent the Runway. Don’t want to be hanging around? Order a car from Uber. Want to maximize your workouts and monitor sleep patterns? Wear the Fitbit. Do you have a brilliant entrepreneurial idea that needs funding? Apply to Kickstarter.

It is the entrepreneur’s moment. Consider Jeff Bezos of Amazon who said, “New inventions and things that consumers like usually are good for society.” People love innovation and what it can bring to their lives. They connect with innovation in terms of the human spirit.

This should be a bonanza for marketing professionals, who are charged with selling these innovations.

Our business has a surfeit of new tools at our disposal, from personalized advertising to targeted direct marketing and dynamic content creation. And yet, we are in danger of losing our consumer.

Here are some warning signs for the marketer from our research:

– By a two-to-one margin, people feel that the pace of change is too quick.
– Two out of three consumers believe that the motive for innovation is greed and corporate profit.
– Two of three are nervous about privacy and security.
– Three of five are anxious about the environment and over consumption.
– Half are concerned about having to “be on” all of the time.
– Most worrying, 87 percent of consumers said they will stop buying innovative products and services unless companies address these concerns.

We have to act on a simple truth: acceptance of innovation cannot be bought; it must be earned. As marketers, we are failing.

Three out of five consumers told us that brands are not on the right track when it comes to listening and communicating with them. And by two-to-one, consumers said they want to be reassured rather than be inspired.

We have forgotten that reassurance is required at a time of rapid change. To achieve that “arms around” status demands a different playbook.

This churn of innovation means more than ever that my evidence is your experience. Said another way, it is the experience that peers have with an innovative product and their emotional shared reactions that are the necessary evidence for purchase. Seventy-five percent say they turn to peers to push them toward or away from a purchase.

Instead of brands using the opportunities that social channels provide to convey their messages, marketers must also use the same social channels to enable peer-to-peer conversation to tap into the power of the peers if they are to convert the purchase. Sixty-seven percent say they trust a brand more if they facilitate peer reviews. And consumers take seriously the opportunity to connect with brands via a “human face at the company.”

Today’s inspiration comes from aspiration. Sixty-nine percent of people believe that the role of innovation for brands should be to constantly improve society and 63 percent to push our thinking. People around the world want to understand the purpose and mission of the brand, how the new product will improve their friends’ lives. And when they are inspired about the mission, the consumers become missionaries.

Disruptive innovation is a fact of the modern economy. As marketers, we need to evolve our playbook if we want to succeed. We have to address consumers’ fears before we have the permission to sell. And we are most credibly represented by those with personal experience of a brand, speaking openly and spontaneously. Once the foundation of trust is established, then marketing can play its role of inspiring purchase.

Today, I am sharing the stage in Cannes at the Lions Festival of Creativity with Jamie Oliver, whose personal campaign for better quality and more nutritious food under the banner, Food Revolution, has changed diets around the world. He understands intuitively that there are four characteristics of successful innovative brands. He informs his publics about the facts on diet, from health consequences to quality of life. He provides a greater purpose, how his initiative will improve the community. He is a character with personal experience leading a campaign that you want to join and advocate. And he is doing something different that is worthy of your association and advocacy. He earns the right to innovate. This is the new model of marketing in action.

This article originally appeared on Richard Edelman’s 6A.M. Blog.

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

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