As Deloitte Digital returns to the Cannes Lions creativity festival this year, here are seven trends we’re watching—and you should, too. 

For decades, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has been a global destination for recognizing creativity that drives global impact. Deloitte Digital has been active at Cannes Lions since 2016, and ahead of this year’s festival, quite a few topics have us buzzing with excitement.

Whether you’re attending the festival in person this year, or watching and following along on social media, we’ve identified topics and themes shaping how we do business and sparking transformative change. Here are key trends to watch:

1. The ever-expanding responsibilities of tomorrow’s CMO

As marketing channels and platforms proliferate into new worlds across augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, the chief marketer’s role has expanded to include core competencies across spaces like user experience, information technology, finance, and human capital. Today’s CMO will need to learn to think like a CFO and recruit team members with the technological and creative skillsets necessary to solve a range of new problems.

Marketing leaders must also collaborate with other leaders across their organizations to align on long-term strategy and identify where marketing can add value. Marketers shouldn’t shy away from their creative abilities. They should use creativity across organizational silos to thrive in uncertain economic times, drive innovation, and generate growth.

Our recommendation? Leaders must focus on building a resilient marketing organization. To do so, marketers should:

  • Focus on long-term market share instead of quarterly earnings
  • Work with their CFO to identify cost-cutting opportunities
  • Consult trusted sources like their CFO to stay informed on market conditions and how they impact decision-making
  • Find creative solutions to problems, to prevail during economic uncertainty
Heading to Cannes? Attend one of our CMOs in the Spotlight sessions (sponsored by the Deloitte CMO Program) to hear directly from CMOs about what inspires them, what concerns them, and what marketing investments they’re eyeing in the next 18 months. Then join Deloitte Board Chair Janet Foutty and Deloitte US CMO Suzanne Kounkel for a session in the Equality Lounge on the CMO’s expanding role.

2. The potential of generative AI as a creative partner and accelerator

With the increased prevalence of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) impacting our personal and professional lives, business leaders are keen to understand how their teams can use these tools to enhance their marketing operations. The best use cases for AI in marketing may be as creative accelerators, allowing creative professionals to iterate, develop, and personalize content more quickly and effectively.

Our recommendation? This is the “Age of With™” AI, not the “Age of” AI. Use generative AI as a catalyst and multiplier of ideas—with human empathy and judgment at the heart of the process. Explore our top questions to ask when considering integrating AI into your marketing strategy here

Heading to Cannes? If you’re attending Cannes in person and want to learn more about how leaders can work with AI, stop by the the Female Quotient's Equality Lounge where Stacy Kemp, US CMO Program lead, will be participating in a panel discussion about critical considerations for marketers looking to implement AI into their creative process and campaigns.

3. The increasing complexity of personalization in a cookieless world

To today’s customers, privacy matters. They want to know how, why, and when their data is being stored and how organizations use it to target them. At the same time, consumers also expect a certain level of personalization in every interaction they have with their preferred brands.

How can marketing leaders solve these conflicting wants? A data clean room.

A data clean room allows platforms to share aggregated rather than customer-level anonymized first-party and third-party data with advertisers. Thus, the data from the clean room provides the best of both worlds: highly targeted and personalized experiences that protect the privacy of the customers they are delivered to. 

Our recommendation? We know that consumers want meaningful and personalized experiences, but not at the sake of their privacy. Marketing leaders should explore ways to use clean rooms to deliver a customized experience without invasive or unnecessary access to personal information. 

4. Representation and inclusion as a business imperative

Investing in and prioritizing inclusivity has benefits both in your organization and outside of it. Business leaders across industries continue to focus on improving representation on internal teams and external campaigns. Our new data drives home the point that doing so is the right thing to do, and it’s right for your organization’s bottom line.

Our new Media Reimagined research shows how prioritizing inclusive representation drives positive impacts on content choice, viewer loyalty, and workforce engagement. Though our study focuses on the benefits of inclusive content development within the media and entertainment industry, our findings demonstrate that equity is a business imperative across all industries. 

Our recommendation? Business leaders across industries should drive efforts to turn intention into action at their respective organizations. Finding opportunities to represent and amplify diverse voices within and outside your organization will help you better connect with customers. Doing so will require developing new working models, setting clear and measurable goals, empowering those who help build your brand to make decisions through a lens of inclusion, and taking accountability for the results. 
Heading to Cannes? Representation matters across all industries. Attend our Secret Speaker session on Tuesday, June 20, at the Palais to learn how one illustrator’s desire to see more diversity in medical illustrations is sparking a change with the potential for global impact.

5. The mix of new technology and legacy media as a ‘both/and’ proposition for growth

Whether brands are investing in new social media platforms, building out their own advertising and content platforms, or redesigning their online shopping experiences, the connection between brand and customer is changing, FAST. To gain a competitive advantage, brands and companies like Macy's and CSAA Insurance Group are finding new ways to surprise and delight customers while increasing loyalty and trust.

The lines between brands, media companies, and technology platforms continue to blur, with many iconic retailers expanding their e-commerce efforts to become advertising platforms for third-party partners. Companies like CSAA are tapping into a mix of nostalgia and new technology to engage customers in unexpected ways across both legacy media and emerging platforms.  

Our recommendation? Brands will continue to look for novel ways to stand out from their competitors and connect with customers. To do so, marketing leaders need to apply a “both/and” approach: mixing investment in new platforms with trusted methods and beloved audience favorites. Explore how we helped CSAA pull off the ultimate Rickroll here.

6. Sustainability as a growth driver and brand builder

Sustainability impacts your entire business. From your customer journey, marketing, operations, and more, every choice made in your organization can impact how your sustainability efforts are perceived by your customers. Now, more than ever, customers are choosing to align with brands based on shared values, and marketing leaders are well positioned to drive that alignment from the inside out.

Data from our 2023 Global Marketing Trends demonstrates that when leaders focus on improving their organization’s internal sustainability efforts, versus external efforts to influence customer behavior, they have an increased ability to drive growth. Internal sustainability efforts can help establish the authenticity of a brand’s marketing initiatives, build trust with consumers, and steer the brand toward a more secure, sustainable future amidst global uncertainties.  

Our recommendation? As marketers continue to assess their organization’s sustainability efforts, they should:

  • Avoid the temptation to cut initiatives during times of economic uncertainty
  • Look for opportunities to infuse sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the product or service
  • Feel comfortable communicating a clear strategy internally and externally with transparency and authenticity

7. The emerging co-creation model for creator/brand partnerships

Influencer marketing has become increasingly important over the past decade. Brands are relying on content creators to boost awareness, build trust, and drive loyalty. This has allowed many businesses to expand their reach and access new markets that have historically been out of reach. But the true value of creator partnerships may lie in the potential of co-creation, where influencers have a seat at the table to evolve the brand’s products, messaging, and strategy.

Our research tells us that the creator economy will continue to grow and that this year the market for social commerce will surpass US$1 trillion globally. We know that many customers are more likely to trust a brand if a content creator they trust supports that brand’s products, making creator partnerships an increasingly critical part of the marketing landscape.

Our recommendation? The relationship between brands and creators will remain pivotal to an organization’s success. To maximize the value that creator partnerships can generate over the length of the collaboration with a brand, marketers should evolve their approach to focus on co-creation and creator lifetime value when launching new creative partnerships.

Heading to Cannes? Attend our Future Gazer session featuring Deloitte Digital’s head of influencer and social, Kenny Gold, to learn more about the future of co-creation between brands and creators.  

Will we see you at Cannes?

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