CANNES, FRANCE--A visit to Cannes Lions is always inspirational, from the speaker lineup to the jaw-dropping creative. But the 2019 event is making it clear that consumer intent is at the core of today’s most impactful and effective campaigns. As brands continue to seek the most meaningful ways to connect with consumers, it is of paramount importance that they heed digital signals and leave preconceived notions at the door.
For established brands with proven methods of designing creative, it can be particularly difficult to shake things up and start optimizing creative based on digital intent signals. Change is hard. It’s uncomfortable. Why change now?
Because consumers have changed and the consumer journey is constantly shifting. You just need to put on the consumer lens to see the “why.”
Attention is the New Currency
Consumers are checking their smartphones 52 times a day on average, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Survey. Now imagine the number of notifications and apps viewed each time. Our attention span is shorter than ever and it‘s affecting the way we think, learn and form relationships. People don’t even have time to select their significant other anymore, instead we swipe right or left in seconds. (Tinder users average 140 swipes daily!). This is the world of consumers, so expecting them to pay more attention to a brand than they do to selecting a partner is perhaps a bit extreme. Brands need to design creative and experiences knowing that they have limited time and attention from consumers.
Or, as Richard Shotton, author of the Choice Factory and Tesa Aragones, Chief Marketing Officer at VSCO, pointed out during a panel entitled “Why Did We Stop Thinking” on Monday at Cannes, it’s time to start identifying the “human truth.” Brands need to pay less attention to chasing trends and try to better understand what people want – and meet those needs at the moments that matter.
Intent Triumphs Over Identity
If your marketing strategy is based on static identities and demographic-based segments, your creative is doomed to target only the “stereotype.” Think about something you need right now, what is relevant at this particular moment might not be relevant in three weeks or even three minutes from now. And yet your identity stays the same. In order to construct relevant creative and messaging, it’s imperative to focus on the context, the intent of the consumer.
Fluid Journey, Fluid Mindsets
Impacted by attention fatigue, the consumer decision journey is more complicated than ever. We’ve been calling out the fact that the decision journey is not linear for a while now, because consumers don’t think in a linear way. That’s not how our mind processes a decision. Even with a great creative campaign, if a brand experience assumes a linear purchase journey – it will miss the mark. Consumers jump back and forth between different mindsets and steps of the journey so only brands with the experience and creative matching the dynamic mindsets have the chance to be relevant.
In order to capture consumers already in a constant mode of attention fatigue, marketers need to shift their perception and move beyond crafting creative towards static identities and journeys. Adapt to the fast-paced life of ever changing context and the mindset of consumers. By being flexible, one can use creative to help consumers wherever they are in the decision journey.
The Power of Intent-Based Marketing
If there is one thing to take home from Cannes, it’s this question: How often do I use digital insights to influence creative work? To have a brand strategy and creative conversations without leveraging digital intent signals means to push aside a ton of insights that could enhance the work.
Consumers are constantly signaling us their needs, expectations and even brand perceptions through digital signals. For brands that know how to identify these signals, digital is a behavioral insights machine that can influence creative in a variety of ways, from ads and experiences all the way to creative packaging.
To design creative work that shines in the marketplace, as so many at Cannes did, you need to adapt to this fast-pace of ever-changing context and consumer mindset, and be flexible in order to assist consumers with creative when they are in the right mindset. This is the power of intent-based marketing.