What does award-winning B2B marketing look like?
For the first time since the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity began in the 1950s, the recently-held 2022 event saw dedicated B2B-specific marketing award categories, offering a new opportunity for B2B marketers to have their efforts shine on the global stage.
The new Creative B2B Lions event and awards were established in conjunction with the B2B community — most notably The B2B Institute — the industry think tank funded by LinkedIn* that researches the future of B2B marketing and decision making.
Now that the inaugural Cannes Creative B2B Lions awards event has taken place, let’s take a look and see what award-winning B2B campaign efforts look like in 2022, and where they may be headed in the years ahead.
1 — B2B Marketing Efforts Shine at Cannes Lions
The Creative B2B Lions presented awards in a wide array of 11 services and products categories:
- Cross-channel Storytelling
- Brand Experience
- Innovative use of Broadcast & Content
- Targeting & Engagement
- Effectiveness & Measurement
- Long-Term Brand Building
- Breakthrough on a Budget
- Challenger Brand
- Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility
- Market Disruption
- Craft in B2B
The B2B brand experience and targeting and engagement award winner was Spotify, for its “A Song For Every CMO” entry, which received a Bronze Lion for brand experience and a Gold Lion for the engagement and targeting category.
The Spotify campaign — which used hyper-targeting to deliver a music-oriented push specifically to CMOs — resulted in some 75 percent year-over-year growth, leading the firm to more than €1 billion in advertising revenue for the first time.
Apple was awarded a Silver Lion in the craft in B2B category for its “Escape From the Office” video campaign.
Apple’s long-form nine-minute film followed workers from work to home, and augmented by a series of 15-second social media ads, the campaign received more than 30 million views in its first month, along with a 353 percent increase in website traffic.
A complete list of these and all of the other big winners at the first-ever Creative B2B Lions is available on the Cannes event website, highlighting the variety of B2B entries submitted.
2 — What The Cannes B2B Awards Tells Us About Future Marketing Shifts
Having dedicated B2B marketing categories at Cannes for the first time was a major opportunity for B2B brands and marketers to showcase advertising campaigns in a way that hasn’t been possible until now, and 2023 is likely to see a greater variety of entrants from the rapidly changing faces of more traditional B2B firms.
The pandemic has certainly sparked upheaval in the B2B marketing space, whether it’s the shift to digital-first efforts, always-on campaigns, or — as the B2B Institute recently explored with the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, a move to category entry points (CEPs) — cues used by customers to surface memories when confronted with a purchasing opportunity.
Charlotte Rogers recently took a deep dive look at this particular B2B marketing shift in “Ehrenberg-Bass: Linking brand messages to buying situations wins ‘the mind and the market’,” for MarketingWeek, while The WARC Podcast dedicated an episode to a Cannes presentation on the topic, in “WarcX Cannes Lions: The Future of Strategy and Ehrenberg-Bass Research.”
During his Creative B2B Lions event keynote presentation, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky pointed to a future driven by greater creative advertising, and “creatification.”
“The next twenty years will be about the ‘Creatification’ of a new generation of tech businesses,” Roslansky observed.
“Business-to-business brands are going for broke on brand awareness,” Kenneth Hein, U.S. editor at The Drum, recently suggested in “What We Learned About the Ad Industry After a Week at Cannes Lions”, going on to note that, “B2B marketers are doing Super Bowl spots and hiring Matthew McConaughey as a spokesperson.”
3 — Greater B2B Brand Awareness Opportunities
The first Creative B2B Lions event and awards presented the sort of global stage for B2B efforts and all-star opportunities for in-person networking and industry learning that will hopefully continue to grow for years to come, as the B2B wing of the Cannes festivities expands and matures.
The overall lasting implications that Cannes B2B-specific awards will have in B2B marketing will take some time to unpack, as marketing professionals mull over their top take-aways from the week.
Change is forever a part of marketing, and its pace has only quickened during recent years, so whatever B2B marketers find on tap during next year’s second-annual Cannes Creative B2B Lions event and awards are bound to be significantly different from the 2022 edition.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview look at just a few of the Cannes winners, and some of the industry shifts that are in the works, and that these insights can help you propel and elevate your own B2B marketing efforts.
To learn more about what it takes to craft award-winning content, here are some of the related articles we’ve published on the subject:
Creating award-winning B2B video marketing that elevates, gives voice to talent, and humanizes with authenticity takes considerable time and effort, which is why an increasing number of firms are choosing to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for over 20 years for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.
* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.