Cannes Lions 2023: Brands to focus on purpose

Unilever’s Conny Braams and Alessandro Manfredi discuss how brands can grow in the ever-changing landscape

23 Jun 2023 | By Raahil Chopra

Day three of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicked off with Conny Braams, chief digital and commercial officer, Unilever, taking to the stage and confirming her exit from the company after 33 years.

After making that announcement, Braams discussed how brands can be grown in today’s ever-changing landscape.

“After being blessed with a couple of decades of relative ease in marketing, everything is changing. Consumers are changing. The way they shop is changing. Technology, business and marketing are changing too. Now as marketers, we have to change too,” she said.

Braams stated that the way people are living, shopping and playing has changed drastically.

“People are moving away from traditional living. Single households are increasing. 36 markets worldwide are seeing populations decrease," she said.

She added, “The global second-hand market in clothing is about become a USD 360 billion industry, so the way people are shopping is changing too. The gaming industry is the biggest within the entertainment industry and the average age of a gamer is 35. It’s attracting a mass population. So entertainment is becoming shopping and will soon become eCommerce.”

Braams stated that generative AI has just about started touching the world, and soon the human brain will find it difficult to keep up with it.

Based on this, she said that Unilever works on three principles to build brands:
1 Get read
2 Do good
3 Be unmissable

Alessandro Manfredi, chief marketing officer, Dove, took over from Braams and stated how Dove focuses on emotions while advertising.

“According to a Kantar study, brand differentiation has gone down the drain over the last 10 years. This is the biggest challenge for CMOs now. We need to stand out. With new channels, it’s easy to lose the plot but we need a compass to navigate change,” he said.

Manfredi urged brands to focus on purpose even though he believed it has lost a little sexiness over the last couple of years.

“You have to put it at the heart of the business model. You also need to look at consistency. While change is appreciated, consistency is needed for long-term growth,” he added.

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