08 December 2021 by Grace Baron

Cannes Lions is giving B2B its time in the spotlight

B2B is finally being given the ultimate platform to celebrate creative excellence. Cannes Lions have launched a new Creative B2B Lions Awards and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Set to honour innovative, effective and game-changing creative work in B2B, this announcement strikes a poignant moment in B2B history as a sure sign that things have changed.

As we saw in The B2B Effectiveness Code, developed by WARC in partnership with Cannes Lions and The B2B Institute, there is a gap between current B2B marketing approaches and optimal effectiveness. However, despite this an increasing number of Cannes Lions awards have been going to B2B work. A key example of this being 2017’s defining Cannes campaign, State Street Global Advisor’s “Fearless Girl” statue, which took home 18 Lions and 4 Grand Prix.

Philip Thomas, chairman of Lions, told Campaign: “Having seen a rise in B2B work winning across the Lions, and with many in the industry believing that a specialist Lion in this area will raise the creative bar and elevate the discipline, we think that now is B2B’s moment to have its own spotlight on the global creative stage.”

What this means is that B2B is moving up in the world. We are moving away from award ceremonies centred around short-term sales-funnel optimisation and sales activation; ceremonies that say they want to celebrate creativity but in reality, celebrate the same old whitepaper campaigns that gave B2B the reputation of being dull. The B2B Effectiveness Code found that of the 435 case studies they looked at, 76% of them focused on sales activation and short-term sales-funnel optimisation. And why would they not when their own industry rewards them for it?

To win a B2B Cannes Lion, work will have to demonstrate short-term tactics and long-term brand building strategies that connect with customers, improve brand health and ultimately drive business growth. And with so much research and empirical evidence surrounding B2B effectiveness coming out of The B2B Institute, Ehrenberg-Bass, The IPA and WARC over the last two years, this is B2B’s time to shine!

All in all, this is a chance for the B2B community to come together to celebrate the work that is really making a difference. Work that is pushing boundaries and creating a lasting impact. At True we always say, whatever marketing work you do, it should ultimately aim to be memorable... and should always aim to build fame. The Cannes Lions is giving B2B its long-awaited chance to step onto the glamourous French Riviera stage, and say I’m here. Remember me. And we cannot wait!