Cannes Lions 2019 Takes Up The Problem Of Purpose To Bring Some New Changes

For the past few years, brands have been all about purpose and purpose-driven marketing strategies. This year also, Cannes Lions advertising conference 2019 proved to be a wild ride with all the big shots and corporate executives talking about purpose, creative, and originality.

The concept of “creative vs purpose” propagated at Cannes and was discussed with a new perspective –implying that the latter one more often than not gets compromised because of the purpose approach. However, if we consider our position as an agency using creative game plans to support empathy and behaviour changes, we can’t help but admit that creative and purpose are the two faces of the same coin and yet so not.

The science of marketing is pretty much an old concept as we all practice it religiously. We tend to employ data for converting customers and driving increased revenue than ever. It’s all about how we make people change their brand of preference and see the game of conversion unfold while sitting behind our computers.

Despite pure marketing our main driving force, purpose is still a vague concept. Outside of idle chatter and publicity, purpose language has minimal effect. What we need to consider is how to leverage behavioral changes. It doesn’t matter if you are doing it for the greater good or your aim is to increase sales, behaviour study is the right path for today’s marketing world.

Although the agencies are now giving way to purpose driven campaigns, challenges posed by subscription models and experience oriented consumer opinions are still demanding some real hard work in a similar direction. CEO of Unilever, Alan Jope has also shared his insights regarding the exploitation of purpose approach by woke-washing, saying that,

“Purpose led brands are not just about communication, but taking action.”

This also weakens the consumer’s trust as the plans communicated by brands don’t match with their real actions.
Now, the question is what can we do to rectify this situation?
The answer is simple enough.

We need to focus more on the “how to act” part, as the moment to decide “whether to act” has long past. We need to learn to deliver transformative advertising strategies that are based on relatable social causes.
Taking an example of Nike’s multiple award winning campaign “Dream Crazy” that took a moving social norm with a purpose and drove a 31% increase in the brand’s sales.

Similar is an example of McVitie’s brand strategy, called “Sweeter Together” that took a social problem of loneliness amidst our digital world and made it into a beautiful story of togetherness. The portrayal of a simple act of sharing a treat with someone made into everyone’s heart and soared with success. Not only that but McVitie is also aiming to promote mental health awareness with the collaboration of a charitable organisation, Mind. It seems they are more on to behaviour sciences to make some societal impact.

All in all, this is how purpose should be incorporated into marketing strategies. From being transformative by bringing a positive change to society to building up conversion, it is a win-win situation for all.

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