Sally O’Dowd has written numerous articles for the Social Media Week blog since 2011, reporting from Cannes, Paris and New York.  Sally served as special correspondent for SMW from the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in 2012. This post, on Sara Arnell, was originally posted here

cannes-lions-logoRolex creating a tiara logo for women’s watches to complement the crown on men’s watches.

Western fast-food restaurants using apps so Indian customers can suggest the regional foods they’d like to see on menus.

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity doing more robust promotion of its festival app, so that more delegates know they can use it to find out info on seminars.

These scenarios are examples of “freshing,” the approach to long-term brand health espoused this morning during a Cannes Lions workshop hosted by Sara Arnell, CEO of Omnicom’s Arnell Group. The scenarios were suggested by the festival delegates who gathered into small working groups after Ms. Arnell’s brief presentation.

“Freshing is based on how we live our lives,” she said. “Every time you upload a photo, change your relationship status or like a news article you are keeping yourself fresh, relevant and in the news with your friends.”

Likewise, brands should continually evolve and invest in small changes over time to amplify their brand presence, she said. Big projects such as campaigns taking months to plan and produce keep brands in the public eye. While not foregoing larger projects, brands should take on smaller projects to continually refresh themselves, Ms. Arnell said. In this risk-averse economy, she argued that “freshing” helps brand managers and creative teams move forward with an acceptable budget and acceptable amount of risk.

She cited M&M’s as an example. The Mars, Inc. candies were not getting new colors but rather brighter colors—an incremental step in the brand’s life. The company made packaging and even candies black and white as part of a promotion to “help M & M’s get their color back.”

Reebok, long held a “woman’s brand” because of its popular aerobics shoes, also did some freshing to appeal to young males. The guy-oriented Rbk sub-brand worked with Olympic hopefuls (less expensive than professional athletes), created new graphics at retail and initiated gifts with purchase as part of a series of relatively easy executions to get in front of a male audience.

Freshing, Ms. Arnell said, helps brands respond to:

  1. Economic conditions
  2. Consumer desires and values
  3. Competitive marketplace
  4. Gut instincts
  5. Budget limitations

And perhaps the Cannes Lions delegates really dug her final rationale for freshing: “It ensures creatives don’t fall into a rut or routine. The immediacy keeps them nimble and current.”



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