The View from Lions Innovation at Cannes

James Ritchie
1st July 2015 0 Comments

We recently announced our partnership with Facebook, which enables marketers to see what audiences are saying about events, brands, subjects and activities while keeping personal information private. To help marketers understand this new offering and how it can be used to significantly improve the relevance of their campaigns and messaging, DataSift headed to the Cannes Lions Festival for the first time.

And so I found myself “working” on the French Riviera last week, drinking champagne under blue skies and palm trees.  As well as great opportunities for networking, there were some key themes that emerged from the Inspiration Stage.

Observation at scale
Chris Clark & Jason Kodish of global marketing and technology agency Digitas LBi spoke about the traditional approaches to ethnography in marketing; focus groups and in-home observation. The challenge is to now shift to what they called “observation at scale”.   The value in achieving observation at scale was illustrated in Chuck Porter’s presentation with Domino’s Pizza. It identified low consumer confidence and a culture of blame around US bank and auto bailout programmes in 2009. The agency used this societal-level insight to design and launch Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign. The results? 21 consecutive quarters of positive same-store revenue growth and share price growth from $3 to $111 since late 2008.

At DataSift, we see tremendous potential for social data to support observation at scale.  A recent project helped an agency to analyze the demographics and emotional engagement of soccer fans; with a peak of more than 100,000 users in a single hour during the FA Cup Final, it was truly observation at scale.

Data fuels creativity
Luca de Meo from Audi discussed the creation of Audi Business Innovation GmbH as a test bed to combine marketing, data science and technology resources. Analysis of data – 90% of it public and just 10% proprietary – uncovered compelling insights into consumer attitudes to electric cars. According to Luca:“In a few years the most creative people will play not just with words but numbers.”

This theme was also covered in detail by DataSift’s CEO Nick Halstead in his presentation – “Social Data is the new Don Draper.” Later in the day, the team from Digitas summarized the role of data perfectly: “As creative we are good at intuition and leaps of faith … but clients don’t buy that anymore. Data helps you convince the rationalists.”

At DataSift, we’ve seen the value of social data in removing blind spots.  One agency we’ve worked with found that it was overly reliant on hunches and assumptions, which were often contradicted by data. Data doesn’t remove the role of creativity, but provides a foundation from which to create.

Brands as storytellers
Luca de Meo described how car brands are recognizing that marketing is integral. At Audi, the team is implementing what it describes as the Content Factory principle: building internal capabilities around curating the best stories; producing PR/communications and then distributing those stories. Luca explains: “We will have an internal publishing company – the brand will create stories – with our agencies.”

At DataSift, we’ve worked with an agency that wanted to understand how US consumers discussed saving money for children, college and retirement. By analyzing almost 1.5 million interactions over just six days, the agency could see the key themes engaging different demographic groups in order to optimize their client’s approach to storytelling.

Closing thought
My first Cannes Lions was a great success and hopefully I’ll get back there in 2016. I’ll just need to post fewer pictures of the beach on Facebook so I don’t have to endure quite so many jibes from friends about my latest “work holiday!”

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