Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Exclusive : It’s three weeks today until the Innovation Festival opens at Cannes … by Susan Perolls

By Susan Perolls, Cannes Innovation Correspondent for TheMarketingblog

It’s three weeks today until the Innovation Festival opens at Cannes, and so it feels that the countdown can finally begin. And with that, comes the excitement of anticipating what will be the biggest news and innovations we’ll see.

Given that the main Cannes Lions Advertising Festival is often called the ‘Grand Dame’ of industry events, it’s probably fair to say that the Innovation Festival, being in its second year, is seen by many as the upstart of La Croisette. It doesn’t yet have the kudos of its mother, not so far attracting the headline pullers like Gwyneth Paltrow, David Droga and Will Smith who are speaking at the main Festival.

And yet, Innovation – billed as data x tech x ideas – certainly made a lot of the headlines last year. Not least with a flurry of commentators somewhat hysterically predicting the role of ad tech in the downfall of creativity, disparagingly calling the sponsored yachts AdTech Row and bemoaning the takeover of the beach by the likes of Google and Twitter (but then being seen enjoying the parties of the same!).

That was a shame, but what was great was the recognition in both conference talks and also at the Innovation Awards about how technology, data and creativity doesn’t just allow companies to do things better, but to do good.

Campaigns and organisations under the spotlight included Kano with its computer coding kit for kids, NASA embracing gamers and empowering them to spot dangerous asteroids before they threaten the Earth (Apophis 2029) and Innovation Grand Prix winners What3Words whose global addressing system allows people disadvantaged as a result of not having an address to now apply for jobs, benefits and receive humanitarian aid.

So what are going to be the biggest items of interest at Cannes Innovation 2016?

It will be fascinating to navigate the technology under the spotlight and evaluate what innovations are truly groundbreaking and empowering to marketers – versus what is tech for tech’s sake.

The Internet of Things will be high on the agenda as its transformative power feels so close, and yet its potential still feels distant (Renault’s talk on how its cars are being turned into all-singing-all-dancing consumer engagement tools sounds a must). And as always, it will be fun to spot the best job titles on show, with ‘Cyborg Anthropologist’ being an early entry at the top of the list, having scanned the agenda.

However, one of the biggest areas of excitement and debate looks to be the so called ‘fourth dimension’ – identifying and measuring ways to tap into and react to our emotional state. Pixar, Spotify and Uncanny Valley are all talking about different ways of delving into our subconscious to unlock our emotions – be it with filming that is guaranteed to tug at our heartstrings, or with playlists delivered to us that perfectly fit our moods in real time.

This is groundbreaking stuff that will surely interest everyone, whether they are tech heads or creatives at heart.

In a talk being given by Facebook called ‘3 Seconds to Win’, they reveal research that shows humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. It’s an unsettling fact – but one that suggests that perhaps this year’s Cannes Innovation will create a rapprochement between ad tech and creativity.

When you only have three seconds to capture consumer imagination you have to bring together insight and great ideas and then deliver them personally to where the consumer wants to see them.  Technology is fundamental in facilitating this and is providing an essential element in the innovation that helps stimulate creativity.

As it rightly says on the Cannes Innovation website, it’s our minds, not technology, that are the barriers.

By Susan Perolls, Loudmouth PR and Cannes Innovation Correspondent for TheMarketingblog