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Brand Culture in the Conversation Age

Thu, 10/06/2016

By Pascal Beucler , SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP and Juror, Cannes Lions 2016 Entertainment Jury

The ICCO Global Summit which took place in Oxford, UK, last week offered two days of great conversations with colleagues coming from all over the world.

I was invited to discuss why Branded Content and Entertainment are a new boundary, and a sweet spot to hit for PR professionals, based on my experience last June at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity , as a juror in the newly created Entertainment Jury : this has been a week-long fantastic experience, evaluating how talent and ample narrative formats can elevate content into the cultural mainstream.

Pascal Beucler ICCO Oxford

Cutting through and turning consumers into fans.

Entertainment is where branded content, storytelling and events/experiential converge, helping brands to creatively engage with people and communities, cut through the clutter and turn consumers into fans.

There’s a clear disenchantment with intrusive advertising formats, particularly among the most influential and sought-after demographic today: Millennials.

What’s engaging Millennials? Engaging content, whether a viral video, a television series, a top experiential event: this is what’s capturing and sustaining their attention and interest.

Great content is the currency for Engagement.

Relevance, virality, social amplification, emotional connections and, at the end of the day, sales stimulation come with content, whether branded, native or experiential content: this is our priority playfield, as PR professionals.

A content that should never be intrusive, but should always be suggestive and fully

relevant to the brand. And thus effective: from Conversation to Reputation and Commerce, results must be visible, tangible, and measurable.

The age of convergence is now.

In the deck below, which I used for my keynote, I focus on four dimensions, illustrated – IMHO – by some of the most remarkable projects we’ve reviewed during the Festival.

  • Technological Convergence : unleashing the power of emotional connections, creating meaningful relationships. Big data, mobile apps, voice recognition, VR, AR are everywhere, and it changes everything.
  • Mobile Convergence : what was prophesied long ago is a loud reality today; our ubiquitous and versatile smartphone is our most vital link to our world, and to the whole world around us.
  • Societal Convergence : brands today have a voice, be it on education, family crisis, coming “out of the closet”, racism, poverty; they do not hesitate to be active participants in the global conversation, doing their bit to get rid of taboos. Good content is better content to share, for purpose-driven organizations looking for social impact.
  • Collaborative Convergence : empowering people (consumers, but also employees) is what helps generate innovation, through co-creation, crowdsourcing, collaboration. Far more than just a trendy wave, it’s a massive tsunami.

Being relatable, human, approachable, bold, “real”, giving people a voice: this could very much be where the future of great brands lies.

We’re here to help them lead the change!

Pascal Pascal holds BAs in History and Language Sciences, a master’s degree in Linguistics and a post graduate degree in Semio-Linguistics. In 1987 he joined Intelligences, a subsidiary of Publicis, and in 1992 he became the Managing Director. In 1994 he was promoted to Partner at Publicis Consultants, and then to General Manager of Carré Noir in 2001. Pascal is an Associate Professor at CELSA (Paris IV Sorbonne) and a visiting professor at HEC – one of France’s top business colleges. He has conducted research and published articles on various topics and in particular on the relationship between text and image. In 2005 Pascal was named Vice-President of Publicis Consultants | Worldwide, in charge of Brand Strategy and development of its international network. Connect with him on Twitter @pbeucler

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