Cannes Lions’ CMO Growth Council Identifies 5 Tenets to Help Marketers End Stagnant Sales

The group is also creating a 'marketing university'

Marc Pritchard speaks about the five key areas brands should focus on to achieve growth. Getty Images

Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard revealed this morning at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference what the Cannes Lions’ CMO Growth Council will do to help brands find new ways to drive growth.

The council, which was announced in April and is made up of 25 marketing chiefs across all categories, developed five tenets they say will help marketers end stagnant sales. During his opening remarks at the conference, Pritchard explained how marketers spend billions on advertising, yet have seen disappointing growth or worse—half of all brands have experienced declining sales.

The five key areas to driving growth include data and technology, talent and capability, customer centricity, brand experience and innovation, and society and sustainability, according to the council. A handful of CMOs from the council will team up to create strategies to fulfill each category.

Joining Pritchard onstage, Deloitte Digital CMO Alicia Hatch discussed actionable ways brands can drive growth with data and technology.

“We needed to humanize data. We had a lot of data, but it wasn’t actionable or very helpful,” Hatch said, explaining that Deloitte has explored how natural language processing can help marketers understand the emotions consumers experience when viewing an ad or how neuroinsights can help them dig into the subconscious reasons a consumer watched a video for nine seconds instead of six.

As part of the CMO Growth Council’s initiative to reeducate marketers on the changing landscape, Hatch announced the creation of ANA Marketing University. Earlier this week, 200 CMOs met to begin mapping out best practices for brand marketers. Out of those sessions came the five keys that Pritchard explained during his panel but also the beginning of a curriculum for ANA Marketing University.

The goal is to bring more CMOs into the fold to build and refine the curriculum, then partner with professors and universities to create the courses. The program will be available to marketers both online and offline through in-person classes and online training programs.

During the panel, American Express CMO Elizabeth Rutledge addressed how companies need to improve the employee experience. “We spend so much time thinking about the end-t0-end customer experience but not enough thinking about the end-to-end employee experience,” Rutledge said.

She also emphasized the necessity for transparency and giving employees access to resources and the knowledge to do their jobs and do them well. She said data and technology are causing industries to evolve quickly, and brands need to ensure their workers are equipped with the skills to adapt.

Jill Estorino, svp of marketing strategy for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, explained why brands need to innovate, providing an example of how Disney’s app for its theme parks allows guests to plan ahead with Fast Passes for rides or cut waiting times in the park by ordering food via the app.

“It’s a legacy brand, and we need to keep innovating,” Estorino said. “We have to understand cultural forces as well as the consumer. Plans should begin with the consumer of the future in mind.”

Pritchard provided an argument for the fifth key to growth: society and sustainability. He said half of consumers take a more positive view of a company that takes a stand on an issue. As part of P&G’s #SeeHer campaign, he cited data that found ads featuring women in gender equal roles perform significantly better, translating to 26 percent higher sales growth.

Pritchard also revealed the impact of creating gender and racial equality in the economy, saying $28 trillion would be added to the global economy if gender equality was achieved and in the U.S. and that the economy would receive a $2 trillion boost if racial equality was achieved.

Pritchard implored marketers to join the #SeeHer movement to end bias in advertising. He recommended marketers connect with Free The Bid, a movement by director Alma Har’el, which increases the number of women who direct ads. He said there’s no excuse anymore for not including women in pitches. The Free the Bid database now includes over a 1,000 female directors across the globe, a number he expects to double in the next year.