Influencers, consultancies and the recruitment crisis: The key topics of conversation at Cannes Lions

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The consultancies come to town

Technology is having a disruptive impact on marketing and nowhere is this clearer than in the arrival of the management consultancies. The likes of Accenture, PwC and Deloitte had a small showing at Cannes Lions in 2017, but they made their presence felt in 2018 not only by renting cabanas and yachts but by becoming a key topic of conversation.

There is no doubt consultants spot an opportunity to challenge the place of the agency holding groups. Speak to agencies and they will say they see no threat because consultants aren’t turning up in pitches; but that misses the point entirely. The consultants are getting in much earlier in the process with the aim of driving transformation by helping brands link up data and insights with advertising and media, and drive real business results.

As Keith Weed, Unilever’s marketing boss puts it: “New competitors can only come in to a market if there is a market gap. Of course they can acquire companies, but [the consultancies] aren’t just acquiring companies.”

It is that understanding of wider business transformation and how marketing fits in that consultancies see as a gap to exploit. And while we’re unlikely to see them going

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