Be bold in your thinking – and more lessons from ‘Fearless Girl’

Elise Mitchell, CEO, Mitchell and Dentsu Public Relations Network | ICCO Vice President

Cannes 2017 (Part 1 of a 4-part series from Elise highlighting takeaways from this year’s festival.)

No matter how surprising the campaigns, conversations and connections at Cannes Lions can be, one thing is certain. You will walk away emboldened to try new things.

This was my third year to attend Cannes, and I was energized by the fearlessness that abounds. You see it in the provocative campaigns that swept the awards, in the entrepreneurs I met and their big dreams, and in the visionary thinking among panelists and presenters about what will drive brands in the future.

The annual international creative festival is a unique experience, to say the least. It draws more than 10,000 talented marketing and communications professionals from more than 100 countries and all walks of life. They spend one week together swapping ideas, challenging old ways of thinking and recognizing the industry’s best work.

So it’s no surprise you find brave ideas and the people behind them.

But does brave work?  Does courageous creativity make a difference?

I believe so, and in fact came away from Cannes with many lessons learned.


“Fearless Girl” and what we can learn about being bold

One of my favorite moments at Cannes was watching “Fearless Girl” win three Grand Prix awards on Monday night – in the Public Relations, Glass (for entries positively impacting gender inequality, imbalance or injustice) and Outdoor Lions competitions. It went on to win a fourth Grand Prix later in the week in the Titanium Lions (for truly game-changing work).

“Fearless Girl” and its goal of raising awareness for investment opportunities in companies with more women in leadership illustrate just how well bold ideas can work – and not just to win awards.

The concept was simple but powerful. State Street Global Advisors commissioned an original piece of art — a statue of a determined girl staring straight ahead, hands on hips. On International Women’s Day 2016, it was placed just a few feet away facing the iconic charging bull of Wall Street. “She reminds us that while marching is important, sometimes you can make a difference by standing still.” – The New York Times

The statue was an instant hit. A constant stream of visitors crowded around the statue for a picture. The earned media attention and social buzz were nothing short of astronomical: 4,000-plus broadcast stories, 3.3 billion Twitter impressions and 405 million Instagram impressions.

Business results over time showed a 384% increase in the She Fund shares traded daily and a 379% increase in State Street’s share of voice. These results illustrated the breadth and depth of the power of public relations and how it can drive your business forward.

Bold reminders

I remember being personally quite moved by “Fearless Girl” and writing a blog post, inspired by the statue, about how to overcome what scares you most as a leader.

Based on my thinking then and how blown way I was by the courageous creativity of the campaign (and many other award-winners at Cannes), I’d like to share a few of my takeaways.

  • Be bold in your thinking.
  • Don’t be afraid to put it out there.
  • Be “all in” on your execution.
  • Sometimes power is seen in quiet strength.
  • Take on the long-held traditions and rules of the game if they don’t make sense anymore.
  • Don’t look back if you know that looking ahead will get you where you want to go.
  • Don’t shrink from standing for what’s right, even if you’re the only one. If you’re standing for others, you’re never alone.

Good reminders for us all.

Cannes 2017 (Part 1 of a 4-part series from Elise highlighting takeaways from this year’s festival.)

(Next up: Insights from the Cannes PR Lions jury – what winning public relations looks like.)


Original article: