Do you ever overthink something that you know is the right direction for you? Me too. Sometimes we overthink, and once we finally take that first step, we’re left wondering why we ever hesitated. This is what happened to me when I decided to go to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this past June. And now that it’s all said and done, I’m so excited to share what I found.

What stuck in my mind was something Amanda Glasgow, global brand practice chair, said during a presentation of the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust?: “Product efficacy is still very much top of mind for [consumers].…yet 55 percent say that trusting a brand now matters more to them because they feel vulnerable, and because they feel that a brand should serve as their conduit for societal change (69 percent).”

As a designer, having the opportunity to understand the thinking behind the world-class creative campaigns presented at Cannes was one of the first times that the real-world impact of creative work really sunk in for me – and the key to this impact can be found in our Trust Barometer data. Cannes punctuated the importance of taking the time to truly understand how Edelman’s Trust Barometer data can help guide us to the best solutions for our clients.

From Storytelling to Storydoing

As Michelle Hutton, managing director, Global Clients, says, “Demanding attention is no longer enough, earning attention is now essential.” The time when brands were awarded for what they were saying is no more. Indeed, the most recognized campaigns at Cannes this year were focused on what brands are actually doing.

Actions, big or small, were at the core of every single idea, and the majority of campaigns were focused on solving societal issues. From global to local, companies and brands were working together on stepping up and creating movements of change. This transition to “doing” is key if we want to inspire action and build loyalty for what brands stand for – from experience to consumption to the impact they can have in society (for good!).

Here are some of the campaigns that grabbed my attention:

Better Balance

I also attended several panels from The Female Quotient (FQ). These presentations spoke to diversity in teams and bringing different perspectives to a company; only by working as one team can we find the intrinsic connection between brands, society and people.

Projects like “Activate” by Global Citizen (focused on ending extreme poverty by 2030) and #MakeEqualityMoves by the FQ both underline how powerful we all can be when we work towards a common goal.

In a panel discussion, Shelley Zalis, CEO of the FQ, said, “You can’t retrofit the past, you do have to move forward with positivity.” This referenced 1970s ads, for example, when women were sexualized with taglines such as “Blow in her face and she will follow you anywhere." Rather than dwelling on the past, we need to accept that it happened and simply move forward better together.

If you’re hesitating about taking the next step: Do everything you can to kick that fear! I can’t imagine not taking that trip to Cannes now that I know what was waiting for me. Trust your gut, stick to it and make it happen.

Maite Moreau is a designer in Edelman’s Toronto office.