What we've been up to this week: 1 July

Hello July and Happy Canada Day!

This week, not only were we suffering from Brexit blues but to rub salt in the wound an underwhelming England team were outplayed by a country with a population the size of the London borough of Croydon. The H+K sports team provided a post-match analysis of both the sporting and political situation and the similar tactics at play.

We held a tech speculators session to look at the best work and biggest trends to come out of Cannes this year. Four big overlapping trends that came up on our radars were: experiences and experiment, storytelling tech, empathy and respect and proof of purpose.

VR featured heavily at the festival and in some of the winning entries. “The Field Trip to Mars” and the New York Times VR app both showed how VR is becoming more commonplace and offering a whole new platform for brands to connect with consumers.  

Empathy and respect could be seen in the entries that took a more gender-balanced and inclusive view of the world; steering away from your usual marketing stereotypes. The Dad-do by Pantene was a fun example of how this could be achieved.

We also discussed how brands are becoming more and more conscious of their place in the world. This was exemplified by the CEOs of the big 6 holding companies joining Ban Ki-Moon on stage at Cannes - with pledges to work towards delivering the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. It’s great to see this kind of commitment coming from the top and shows the importance of corporations working in harmony with the world around them.

This week, the Tech team attended the Google Fire Starters session which opened their eyes to the world of AI. They listened to the philosophy, the policy, and also to the people that use it every day.

The session was led by a variety of speakers including Paul Chong, Director of Watson Group, EMEA at IBM and Stuart Turner, Founder, Robots and Cake. Data is exploding, and the question of what we’re going to do with it will determine its limits and potential. AI is a hot topic with lots of questions, excitement and concerns emerging from its evolution, but one of the most pressing things for us is to learn as much as we can, now.

Robert Isherwood

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search