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Content, commerce, community: Five take-homes from the Cannes Lions panel.

As the sun sets on another year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, marketers, advertisers and creatives around the world are all thinking the same thing: what have we learned – and what next? 

Reprise Commerce, Global President, Glen Conybeare discussed the future of commerce marketing at the Content, Commerce and Community MediaLink roundtable during the event. He was joined by an expert panel of Abi Harmon of Ascential and Julie Simon of The Weather Company/IBM Watson Advertising. Helmed by Ad Age’s Dan Peres, the panel discussed third-party cookies, commerce content and consumer Flow. 

Here are five take-homes.  

We need to rethink what we mean by community 

When you think about online communities, what springs to mind? You might imagine a local Facebook group, a subreddit or a TikTok influencer.  

For the panel, the current idea of online community has a sizeable hole: eCommerce. In 2020, Amazon hosted 250 million user reviews. If that’s not a community, what is? 

Glen backed this up with a point he’d heard earlier in the festival. If you took the ‘Buy’ button off Amazon, it would be the world’s largest social network. Why? Because of its increasingly authentic and authoritative reviews.  

Indeed, the days of faceless (and sometimes dubious) user reviews are numbered. Video reviews are proving more and more important – and lending more and more integrity to eCommerce platforms.  

Content can drive commerce – and community 

With the conversation turning to content, the panel discussed a recent IKEA Spain campaign called ‘Trapped in the 90s’.  

Faced with declining interest from Gen Z, IKEA went all-in and created a reality YouTube show where contestants lived in a poky 90s house, Big Brother-style. IKEA then dropped their comfy, cosy and convenient products into the house to ease the suffering. The online buzz translated to huge increases in product sales. 

For the panel, this was an example of how content can nail commerce and community at once. Approaching an indifferent demographic with simple ‘sign-up’ or ‘buy now’ ad will never work. Engaging them with creative ideas is your way in. 

But content is just one piece of the puzzle 

At Reprise Commerce, we’re all about FLOW – where customers get a consistent, connected experience across websites, advertising, search and PR. This came across in the panel where Glen stressed the importance of linking creative campaigns and website content – and how this keeps customers engaged from the first moment of awareness. Without this consistency, your customers will lose interest.  

For Abi, creative content is just one part of a wider customer need for trust, clarity and authenticity on Amazon. You can have the slickest content in the world, but it needs to be backed up with those less glamourous details about inventory, delivery and how to buy, coupled with those all-important Amazon Best Buy icons. Customers then consider imagery, copy and A+Content. 

We can embrace the demise of the third-party cookie 

The deprecation of third-party cookies was a hot topic at Cannes. Glen, Abi and Julie, a question on cookies was an opportunity to discuss the future of online commerce – in particular, the shift to direct-to-consumer sales. 

Agencies can be a bellwether for change – and Reprise is no exception. Indeed, most businesses have the shift to DTC firmly on their radar. Glen noted how many new big brand requests for proposal (RFPs) mention making the change to direct-to-consumer sales. Abi noted the excitement in the industry about how to fill the gap left by third-party cookies between privacy and user experience. 

 Is the future metaverse? 

To close the roundtable, a brief show of hands illustrated mixed reaction to another key festival topic: the metaverse. This futuristic concept of the internet as an immersive, augmented reality bolstered by AI and VR.  

Sound far-fetched? An audience member disagreed, and was keen to illustrate how important the metaverse will be in 10 years’ time. Likening complacency around the metaverse today to the early days of the internet and Facebook, he urged businesses to hop aboard now, or miss out later. 

Want to learn more about the content, community and commerce? Check out the full video. 

 

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