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Cannes 2013: A social purpose to brands

By , Seminars, Cannes | In Advertising | June 19, 2013
On Day 3 of the International Festival of Creativity, EffectiveBrands' co founder Marc de Swann Arons, Sucheta Govil of Akzo Nobel and Visa's Kevin Burke spoke on the topic, Marketing 2020, which brought out that brands with a social purpose also believe creativity is an essential part of the process.

At the International Festival of Creativity, one would expect seminars to be lined up with topics pertaining to creativity, advertising and communication. However, here was a seminar talking on the other side of the fence - the client's side. In fact, the relationship between marketers and advertising agencies has changed, considering the industry itself has undergone a lot of transition over the years.

Marc de Swann Arons, Sucheta Govil and Kevin Burke in Marketing 2020 seminar

Unlike perhaps a decade ago, the influence of marketing is increasing and it's all about social media, transparency and technology, said Marc de Swann Arons, co founder, EffectiveBrands.

At a seminar titled Marketing 2020, Arons revealed the early findings of an undergoing online survey that indicates that performing marketers integrate big data with big ideas. So, while there used to be perceived contrast regarding big data and creativity working together, marketers realise now that creativity is equally important in driving business growth.

The next step, obviously, is how to apply creativity to build on the universal insight and create an experience out of it. Arons said that the answer is the purpose on which the creativity is based. In fact, most marketers believe a clear social purpose helps differentiate a brand from its competitors. To illustrate his point, he spoke of Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' ad, which allowed people to pick up the idea and let it fly with several reposts on digital media. "People will do this only when they believe the brand is doing something worthwhile. However, the biggest problem remains consistency," Arons added.

Speaking about the Akzo Nobel experience in creating Dulux as a brand with social purpose, Sucheta Govil, global head of marketing, decorative paints business, Akzo Nobel, shared insights into the 'Let's Colour' project, where the paint brand went to the community and included it in making their house and surroundings beautiful, which in the long term made them optimistic and happy.

The project, which began in Brazil in 2010, is being undertaken in 1,000 places across the world, including India. Besides increased employee engagement after the project kick-started, the brand also saw an increase in brand popularity, engagement and recall, too.

Aaron also impressed the fact that over-performing marketers are increasingly working with bigger networks of agencies (at least five) and other partners such as Facebook and Twitter.

Agreeing with him, Kevin Burke, chief marketing officer, core products, Visa, said that brands need to create a portfolio of partners (advertising agencies) and build a trust relationship with them. He also shed light on the future of communication, which will revolve around people power, intelligent communication and consumers wanting seamless experience in different media and modes of payment.

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