Cannes blog: Begin with the end in mind

Campbell's Philip Donne on the death of the traditional creative brief, breaking barriers and building ground-up platforms.
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Philip Donne, president at the Campbell Company of Canada is in Cannes taking in the best work and great thinkers the festival has to offer. He is sharing his takeaways with people back home through strategy.

If there is an overarching view or perspective from this year’s visit to the Cannes Lions it has to be that we have to begin to create our communication platforms with the end in mind. Holding the notion shared broadly here that it is brand advocacy and not loyalty, as the ultimate goal, we need to approach socially relevant engagement in a decidedly new fashion.

In the “de rigueur” vein of earnest bloggers who strive to make a statement, I will declare what we now know as the “Creative Brief” as dead. There, I said it, but really is anyone shocked or care? I think for most that’s a no, however I expect there is some agreement that there needs to be a new way.

If we are to craft communication platforms that have the end in mind, we need to begin with more than just a creative brief. Call it what you will – a social engagement brief, a social prospect brief…whatever you wish, but it needs to have the digital, coding, strategic PR, in-store (if relevant), media and traditional creative teams together from the outset, not bolt-ons (better known as “and we have a web too” portion of the creative presentation) or post brief updates.

If we hope to achieve consumer or prospect advocacy, we are going to need to initiate differently. And as evident here at Cannes 2013, even more so in a world of splintering reach and multiple screens.

I have to believe that any number of winners here broke some barriers in building ground-up platforms. And speaking of winners, I just heard that our Young Marketers team won bronze! That is two years in a row for Canada…well done team!

So, why not change the game first and more comprehensively here? We are obviously building the young talent, so why not surround them with the process to build world changing engagement platforms, be they for business or for our local and global communities? Not doing so would be a “dumb way to die” as a creative force, which by the way was one of my favourite campaigns here at Cannes this year.

It’s time to change. Broadened thinking and strategies have, by evidence here, accelerated in just one year. It’s time to start. One of my favourite quotes is from Machiavelli and it goes: “the wise man does at once what the fool does finally.” I may be a dinosaur but I don’t want to be no fool.