Cannes Lions, Day 4: The Power of Great Storytelling

Business Blog / June 23, 2016

Katty Kay interviewing Gwyneth Paltrow at the IPG breakfast

Katty Kay interviewing Gwyneth Paltrow at the IPG breakfast

Early this morning, as in well before the shops were open, while the sidewalks were still being hosed down from the festivities of the night before (admittedly having just ended a few hours ago for some of us more jetlagged folks), a colleague and I made our way “across town” (a fifteen minute walk) to Hotel Martinez to attend an event hosted by the Interpublic Group (IPG): Expectations Aside — A Conversation with Extraordinary WomenThis is one of the several events we have the privilege of attending as clients of MediaLink.

This event was comprised of mini-keynotes, a power panel about the value of women in leadership positions, how we have to support each other as we advance in our careers, the special skills we have and should celebrate rather than suppress, and other related themes. Highlights included an interview by Katty Kay (BBC) with Gwyneth Paltrow, and a series of videos Michael Roth (IPG Chairman and CEO) showed, including a moving video IPG created for its portfolio client Microsoft around International Women’s Day. It celebrates women inventors by asking young girls “What are you going to make?”

Michael concluded his opening remarks with That’s why we are in Cannes. It’s all about the power of communication and messaging.”

That struck me. The power of communication and messaging.

That is why we are here.

Cannes Lions – a global festival of creativity — is about celebrating the power of creativity in communication. Whether it is a video funded by a global brand designed to spark awareness about a social issue, an ad that throws retail madness on its head, or a shift to content marketing and brand storytelling, we are all invested in some way in connecting one another with a message, an idea, an impression or a movement.  

And as we know, the best way to communicate is often with a story.  

Flipboard is built upon a rock solid foundational first principle: Great stories move the world forward. Our platform is a home to an infinite number of stories, curated, enjoyed, and shared by our tens of millions of global users in countless micro-communities daily. Flipboard makes it possible for publishers, brands, and individual users to connect with one another – to communicate — not as a social network, but as a content network — an interest network. Through this network, growing daily on the Flipboard platform, users find inspiring content around their passions. Brands reach those users in a captivating, aspirational moment. Content creators connect with these high value audiences. No other platform does this.

As noted at the event this morning, excellent communication — storytelling — can be very powerful.  With great power comes great responsibility. As our team on the ground here at Cannes navigates our days and (long) evenings of back-to-back meetings and events, we are reminded of the responsibility we have to each of the participants in our ecosystem. We have the power and responsibility to value quality over quantity in every facet of what we do, what we are building, who we partner with and how we grow. It is a responsibility that we embrace and celebrate daily.

While I could pen an entire blog post about the many strong women leaders at Flipboard — and the fact that in my four years with the company women have consistently made up at least 50 percent of the leadership team, this post isn’t about that (we’ll save that one for another day).

Cannes is about the power of great storytelling and we at Flipboard couldn’t be more thrilled (and admittedly humbled) to be part of it. 


Cecily Mak is reading Cannes Lions 2016