Unexpectedly, an invite to join the jury of the prestigious Cannes Lions landed in my inbox, thanks to an anonymous nomination. Quite the surprise, and I can’t deny it, I was absolutely chuffed. It’s not every day you’re offered a chance to contribute to such a distinguished process and simultaneously tap into the pulse of emerging trends for the B2B community.
Now, this isn’t any old jury service. This is the B2B Creative Lion category and it’s just in its 2nd year. A ten-strong team of rather remarkable jurors, which it has been a pleasure to meet, we’ve been handed the baton and with it, the responsibility to spotlight the very best of B2B creativity. We’re a diverse bunch, with different stories and backgrounds, but united by one shared goal — to inspire B2B marketers across the globe.
I will pull back the curtain on this journey — give you an insider’s view of our deliberations, a glimpse at the standout trends, and a deep dive into what really happens in a Cannes Lion jury room.
The jury assembled in May, and we are deep in the throes of the first round of judging, with the deadline steadily approaching. This stage is rigorous and immersive, an explosion of creativity, clever marketing ideas and beautiful crafting of creatives, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolving landscape of B2B marketing.
Blurred lines between B2B and B2C marketing
One trend that stands out is the blurring of B2B and B2C marketing lines. B2B campaigns are increasingly employing emotion-driven, personalised elements often found in B2C marketing, resulting in more engaging, human-centred experiences.
Redefining the B2B aesthetic
Bold colour palettes and daring design choices are challenging the traditional, more reserved B2B aesthetic, signalling a shift towards a more vibrant visual language. Combined with the emphasis on clear and simple messaging in the most impressive creative ideas. Amidst the clamour for attention, straightforward messages still hold their ground as the most effective.
A fresh take on creative playfulness and emotional depth has also surfaced in the entries, amplified by the refined use of omnichannel marketing strategies. These campaigns resonate deeply with audiences, reflecting the maturation of the industry.
Business value at the forefront
Marketers have made significant strides in leveraging data and insights, aiming to deliver not only creative campaigns but tangible business value. Personalised experiences, enabled by the blending of channels and tactics, are on the rise, fuelled by the quest for a seamless buyer journey.
Brands rallying around a cause
Interestingly, many submissions underscore a compelling shift towards purpose-led partnerships. Brands are aligning with causes and missions that resonate with their audience, leveraging shared values to cut through the noise. This approach builds authentic connections, deepens brand engagement, and proactively supports many noteworthy causes.
The tech-savvy marketer
The emergence of Web3 and AI technologies within campaign execution, a shift towards a more digital, automated marketing landscape. Clever campaigns tuning into tech-savvy audiences are making the most of emergent channels such as NFTs or AI tools to harness the power of AI for personalisation. These campaigns have fine-tuned their messaging for specific industries or individuals. Demonstrating a next-level understanding of not just where the audience is now, but where they are heading.
The quality of the submissions is high, signalling that B2B marketing is moving up a gear and redefining benchmarks of creative excellence.
I’m excited to continue the journey towards shortlisting the final contenders, and I’m looking forward to the time spent discussing the entries with my fellow B2B jurors, without a doubt, there will be some lively debates on who makes the cut.
I’ll continue this series, documenting the intriguing process behind the scenes at the Cannes Lions Awards. Keep an eye out for the next update.