Social Media as an Instrument of Change: Cannes seminar slides

I’ve had some requests for the slides from my seminar at the Cannes International Advertising Festival so here they are. Plus below is a short synopsis and a link to footage from the speech itself. If you haven’t used slideshare before, you can view and download the presentation. Thanks again to Alec Ross from the U.S State Dept. for joining me and sharing his invaluable insights. Special thanks also to InterCulture for sponsoring the event and making it possible.

SEMINAR OVERVIEW: The advertising world is reeling from change – and it’s not just because they have yet to fully embrace social media in their brand campaigns. The problems in advertising are much more profound—they literally extend deep into the heart of capitalism. The core issue is that advertising and capitalism need each of the survive. Both are being challenged by powerful forces of social change in today’s new world: globalization, digitalization, social media and a loss of values. At the root of these pressures is also a powerful motivator: consumers want a better world, not just better widgets. This is motivated by a growing global consciousness that the world is faced with many severe crises, most of which are due in fact by capitalism’s myopic search for profits.

Today’s talk addresses what the advertising industry needs to do to reinvigorate itself, if not simply to survive. Advertising must first begin by helping brands recognize that the future of profit is purpose.  Brands need to convey to consumers that they add meaning to life rather than simply feeding self-destructive consumer greed. Instead, advertisers and their brands need to show consumers a sincere vision of a better future infused with values, consistency, and transparency. As such advertisers and brands must ultimately become architects of community, helping brands engage with consumers and build sincere relationships based on loyalty, empathy and trust.

The most powerful tool in this transition is social media, the focus of this talk. Advertisers no longer hold monopoly control over the story behind their brands, as consumers are now able to write, distribute and curate brand content around the web. Between social networks, video, mobile phones, and location-based applications, consumers now have the power, the channels of communication, and the personal connection to endorse or condemn brand messaging or behavior. Advertising needs to adjust accordingly. In fact, everything about how advertising communicates to consumers needs to be reversed—push must become pull, talking needs to be replaced by listening, and monologues must transform in to active, daily dialogues.

Ultimately, the future of advertising lies in making capitalism sustainable. To that end advertising must master social media and take control of the stewardship of their brand partners in this new intimately connected global community. By doing so, advertising will not only ensure its own future but transform capitalism into an engine of global prosperity.