Nestle, Mars and Airbnb to focus on trust, storytelling and collaboration for 2016

Cannes Lions 2015: Being a consumer-centric brand, using the audience to tell stories, and better serving customers by collaborating with the right partners is on next year’s agenda for marketers at these top brands.

Closer relationships with retail partners is high on the agenda for Mars, which owns brands such as M&M's, Wrigley's and pet food Pedigree Chum
Closer relationships with retail partners is high on the agenda for Mars, which owns brands such as M&M’s, Wrigley’s and pet food Pedigree Chum

Speaking at Cannes Lions festival, Bruce McColl, chief marketing officer at Mars, Nestle’s global head of digital and social media Pete Blackshaw and Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall shared their views on their priorities for 2016.

Keeping the consumer in the centre

For Blackshaw at Nestle it’s about customer centricity and avoiding cynicism from the public. He said: “Consumer trust in 2016, it can break you, either in a good way or bad way. We talk about big data and the complexity of our systems and the one fundamental that we have to embrace will come to a head is keeping the consumer in the centre.

“That means full transparency in what we’re doing, giving them control to opt in and thinking about how mobile is putting a higher premium on radically simplifying the way we communicate with consumers.”

Blackshaw went on to say that even though the brand is aware of consumer cynicism the brand is looking to build consumer trust to steer away from it.

“It’s an incredible time to be in marketing and we can either go down a win-win pathway of trust or we can go down the pathway where we have the scepticism that erodes value.”

Pete Blackshaw, Nestle

How to unlock community potential

Sticking with theme of ensuring the consumer is at the centre of marketing, Airbnb’s Mildenhall is focusing on storytelling using the community of users on the accommodation booking site, which has 37 million users and 1.2 million homes listed.

“I talk about creating the world’s first community driven super brand but I don’t understand yet how I can unlock the strategic and storytelling potential of my community, and do that at scale. I have to crack that code”

Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb

In 2016, Airbnb will aim to work with new partners that will help the brand curate ideas from the community and push those out to consumers.

The lines between marketing and sales are blurring

Partnerships is on the agenda for FMCG giant Mars and McColl told delegates that the way the world shops today is changing “at a pace that is unprecedented and for an FMCG player”. Mars’ mission for next year will focus on the fact that the company believes the blurring of the lines between marketing and sales will increase.

“We have to figure out who we collaborate with.”

Bruce McColl, Mars

McColl said: “We have to figure out who we collaborate with. Our prediction is we are going to have to look at much closer relationships with retail partners, whether they are virtual or bricks and mortar, bringing them together to reach consumers better.”

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