Industry watchers on introduction of new Creative Business Transformation Lions at Cannes

As the transformation has been the key driver for all businesses in India in recent years, this category has come at the right time, opined experts

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Published: Jun 21, 2021 8:59 AM  | 4 min read

Adding a new category to its vast repository, Cannes Lions with its Creative Business Transformation Lions has started a new chapter in its history. Announced last year, the category will go live this year with the aim to celebrate the creativity that drives businesses forward – creative thinking that changes how businesses organise themselves, how people work and how customers engage with them, as it spelt out in its blog. The Indian ad world is quite excited about this new addition and is looking forward to seeing the work that comes out from across the globe for this one. 

Starcom CCO Rajiv Gopinath says, “The way businesses operate and the relationship between brands and audiences have evolved and improved in many ways and the introduction of this category to cover the breadth of transformation is commendable and it was critical to segment- the category into eleven sub-categories to do justice. While businesses were already evolving, the pandemic gave companies a strong nudge to accelerate the process.” 

The eleven subcategories under the category are experience transformation; marketing technology for growth; targeting, insights & personalisation; operational transformation; brand purpose & impact; company culture; new relationship models; product; service design; and venture models & corporate innovation.  

Gopinath adds, “Agencies played a key role in some of these categories, especially in category A – which is on Experience transformation. By improving and leveraging insights, targeting and personalization as well as a step-change in the use of AI and Martech, all these experiences drove growth and results for the clients. We have seen some tremendous examples in this category in India. Within Publicis India, we saw some incredible work done in the Automobile, Pharma, BFSI, FMCG, Hospitality and other sectors.” 

Taproot Dentsu Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer Santosh Padhi says, “Cannes is making the festival more inclusive by getting all sorts on board, it started by broadening the show by having categories like PR, Media, Pharma, Influencer, Entertainment, Sport, Music, etc. I feel this is a best-fitted category for clients, though the title is Creative Business transformation, the weight on the judging criteria has nothing to do with core creativity, here is what the split looks like 30% strategy & process; 35% experience & implementation; 35% business results & impact. So it’s your business approach that needs to be creative and not the brand narrative, this me will be more of a numbers game than creative gut feel.” 

He adds, “When it’s a new award category, it usually takes a year or two to define what exactly is the category and what are they looking for and rewarding, I’m sure juries will have loads of discussion and debate around the category to set a tone for this new category and maybe the next year's juries, too, need to work harder if they disagree, what was set previously. I feel if clients are keen and do something fresh business approach and if they were confident they would have taken a punt entering here.” 

Tonic Worldwide founder & CEO Chetan Asher also shares a similar opinion, “If you look around us, especially in India, the transformation has been the key driver for all businesses in recent years. Agility plays a key role for any business and creative agencies have a bigger part to play here. So, this category has come at the right time and there is surely going to be great work in the entries.” 

Logicserve Digital Founder & CEO Prasad Shejale is also excited about the new category. “Cannes is mainly associated with the creativity in the campaigns done for a brand; yes, the end goals of the marketer and how the campaign drives results also matter. It's a welcome move that a special category is explicitly made for the business transformation. Happy to see the focus not just on the glamourous ads but also on the real transformation work.”

He wants to see more Indian giants participating in this category “because I feel a country like ours is the most diverse and challenging demographics in the world. In India, brands across different segments like Edutech, BFSI, and the FMCG sector are doing some excellent transformation work. The world should know about these medal-worthy case studies.”

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