By Louise Benson

VP Events & Festival Director, Cannes Lions

It’s our firm belief at LIONS that we can make progress through creativity. And the discussions, provocations and insights shared through LIONS Live show that the industry feels the same way, with so many conversations centred on action for change.

Here, we take a look at how creatives, marketers and business leaders can seize the moment using creativity, with practical tips, cautionary observations, emerging trends and more.

Not only is there a moral imperative for this industry to step up and take more responsibility in society, but, as readers will see, this can also safeguard and improve long-term brand value. With the rise of belief-driven buyers (64% surveyed in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer identified as such) it’s clear that the average consumer really does care. So, good brand marketers and creatives should make it their business to care, too.

At LIONS Live, we heard loud and clear from brands, agencies and activists from all over the world that the responsibility for social justice issues, for fair representation, for lifting people from poverty, lies squarely with the advertisers and corporations who are in a position to make proper, meaningful commitments. And that the time for talk is over: it’s time for action.

Throughout this report, you’ll see contributions from brands, from agency partners and from grassroots activist organisations that have started on the journey and have valuable advice to share. The common thread is that all perspectives are genuinely human and personal: responsibility starts with the individual. And that brand purpose is just as important - if not more so - within businesses, as it is in the external messaging and actions they take. Echoed in their rallying cry in the foreword to this report, our partners FCB highlight the underlying message - don’t talk, act. If individuals can make small steps to create change each day, then brands made up of 100s, if not 1000s, of individuals can move miles.

We’ve got the momentum, it’s time to make a difference.

The time is now

A foreword by FCB

Don’t talk, act. Don’t say, show. Don’t promise, prove. The world will remember the brands and the people behind them who took action during these unprecedented times. Now is not the time to be “safe.” Now is not the time to talk big but actually play small. Now is certainly not the time to pretend that nothing is happening out there. That it’s business as usual. As an industry, we like to promote brave work and bold, provocative initiatives. The only brave way to behave right now is to act. And to give the confidence to our great partners and brands to do so.

Creativity is always the answer to a problem. And We. Are. The creative people. We have the ability to translate what’s going on in our streets, communities and world into solutions, movement, behaviour. By acting, we have the opportunity to play a bigger role than ever before in people’s lives. A meaningful role. That’s what the people out there are expecting from us. That’s how they rate brands.

There used to be a time when purposeful work and business-efficient work were two different things. Disconnected. One finally leads to the other. Show me your logo – I’ll tell you what you stand for. And therefore, I’ll decide if I want to join you, if I want you to be part of my life. The occasion is immense. The challenges are immense. As everything we are living is new, we must think anew and act anew. If we don’t do that, we will deserve the business and the world we get.

By Fred Levron Creative Partner, FCB Worldwide