Cannes Session: The Paradox of Connection

June 18, 2019

The more connected we become via tech, the more disconnected we feel. We’re all familiar with this tension, and the ways technology often removes us from the moment we’re in. So, in today’s world of disconnection, what roles do brands play? Our Chief Strategy Officer, Amy Winger, and NY CEO and North America CCO, Jason Xenopoulos took the stage at WPP Beach to explore VMLY&R’s Connectedness Index, and why connected brands and experiences matter more than ever before.

Key takeaways:

  • Culture arises from the interactions between people. Essentially, culture is the new media. In the fractured time we live in, brands can – and are – bridging social and cultural gaps by creating spaces and places for people to connect.
  • We need to start thinking about brands as memes. A meme is a single unit of culture, a unit that can spread from person to person in culture.
  • As brands play increasingly important roles in our lives, marketers have a duty to shape purposeful brands. We must inject meaning that enables the brand to become a platform for shared values. And, we must architect brands in ways that allow people to take ownership of them and use them as an extension of themselves.
  • Connected brands rise above other brands by tangibly adding value to people’s lives. They do not connect once a year on one channel, rather, they understand and leverage changing media behavior to build presence in culture.
  • The most connected brands are often the most creative brands – they are able to not only tap into culture, but more importantly, they create culture. That’s the North star and highest objective for our brands. 
  • We created the Connectivity Index to measure a brand’s connectedness. It brings the emotional, experiential and cultural dimensions of connectivity together and allows us to have different conversations with our clients.

 Notable quotes:

  • “In our hyper-connected world, brands have to build presence in culture. They have to understand that culture is the new media. And brands have to think of themselves as memes: a single unit of culture that can spread from person to person.”  Jason Xenopoulos, VMLY&R CEO, New York and CCO, North America
  • “Brands play a more important role than ever in our lives. To leverage that opportunity, they need to both inject meaning and construct their brand in a way that allows consumers to take ownership of it.” Amy Winger, VMLY&R, Chief Strategy Officer 
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