But #Honestly

In Cannes on June 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Day 2: Honesty in strategy

Tweet of the Day:

Although today got off to a rough start (slept through my alarm!) it did not disappoint in seminars and experience. I was parked in the Grand Audi room at the festival from about 9:30 am to about 3 p.m. hearing from filmmakers, celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Nick Cannon, and Scary Spice and creator of the Obama hope posters: Shepard Fairey.

#NewhouseIDSM made a serious appearance on the festival word cloud today:

#NewhouseIDSM showing up to the game!

#NewhouseIDSM showing up to the game!

After the seminars we took a short train tour of Cannes, seeing the new town developments and swanky city life that is so legendary and heard about in pop culture. After popping into a networking event on the beach, our Syracuse University group went to dinner at a Lebanese Restaurant and polished off the night with some creme’ brule gelatto. Its funny how I’m not usually a fan of such things but when in Rome.. or Cannes. I mean France is across the water from Italy?

But the most interesting part of today came from the celeb insight in social strategy and also the theme of honesty throughout film making, social communications and art.

Check out my storify of the speakers:

Check out my storify of the speakers:

Celebrities & Social Strategy

Like any brand, a celebrity’s name and identity need to be strategically communicated, planned and carefully executed. From the platform used to the type of content shared, any business or branded individual has decisions to make in order to become and remain successful. The second session that I saw at the Cannes Lions conference today edged into this discussion as well as the role digital and social play in fame.

From the beginning digital and social media have the ability to go viral or even to do the opposite and only reach the necessary audience. This can change the way an individual even rises to celebrity status. But once there, digital and social open up a number of opportunities for direct fan interaction and increased exposure. Nick Cannon, one of the panelists, mentioned that his wife Mariah Carey and him noticed sufficiently less paparazzi in their lives as opposed to other celebrities after releasing In sharing their own photos of their personal life, they have control over what is released. This can create and maintain their image and also decreases the need for spying or shame tactics to get close ups. This way even if there is some negative publicity or a less flattering photo, magazines and fan blogs no longer have the impact or authority when a celebrity can easily tweet, post or share for themselves.

A generational change of approach was also seen through from the three panelists. Martha Stewart is a media giant with a huge following. She mentioned strict rules which she follows on social. She often only allots herself about five minutes a day and follows family rules, never sharing photos of her kids’ faces. She strays away from political speech and tends to keep a lot of her personal life out it. In contrast, Nick Cannon and Mel B (Melanie Brown) both agreed that they are much more open. Their motivations are fun and hoping to engage with the fans by showing genuine moments and thoughts in their everyday lives.

However, there were two things that all three celebrities agreed with–both of which I enthusiastically agree with. The first is that celebrities are better off running their own accounts. Having a team running the social with the celebrity hands off may allow for a more created and consistent atmosphere but it is missing the actual connection. It is almost returning to the days of old when celebrities seemed out of reach. Digital and social have the capability to change that. Also when a team is running account, it does not show the actual personality of the celebrity–still a fictional or forced type of communications. The second is that honesty is the best policy. Nick Cannon advised to never delete a tweet. “Once it is out there, it is out there,” he said and Mel B agreed that honest communication and trying to not go back and delete are better. Martha Stewart also put weight into authenticity and honesty in social communications. Those two conclusions were good for me to hear because while stars are building brands and maintaining images, how long can fake ones really last? Isn’t it that much better to gain fans who agree with an honest representation allowing them to get close and feel even more loyalty?

Honestly, Just mention it.

Three of the other sessions I was fortunate enough to see today both mentioned honesty and the importance of example. Jack Sim, aka Mr. Toilet, is the creator of World Toilet Day: an initiative that aims to bring toilets and clean hygiene habits to parts of the world where contamination is ending mass amounts of lives.  Shedding light on a taboo subject, Mr. Sim said that if you don’t mention it, you can’t change it.

In the afternoon, we heard the inspiring story of the Makers project. With insight from the accomplished Gloria Steinem, Makers shows the story of women globally sharing powerful examples and spreading pride in what it is to take part in female empowerment. Steinem mentioned two things about truth. She said: “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” And also mentioned a pin that she owned which reads: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Thirdly, a session on covering the Paralympics in London 2012 depicted how integrity and honesty to humor and the identities of the disabled athletes allowed for successful storytelling and sold out events. A sobering commercial depicting the super-humans who compete in the games with a risky middle featuring accidents and uneasy images painted a complete picture and grabbed the attention of the British population and the world. This honesty to what the games were and the humor allowed in the broadcast to match the personalities created honest coverage and led to an amazingly successful Olympic year.

So with the surprisingly recurring theme of honesty in media, in strategy, in coverage and even honesty  to one’s own goals in identity, film making and more today’s experience in Cannes taught me a lot about how to approach media.

ALSO: Companies & logos spotted around Cannes







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