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Cannes Lions 2022: How young creatives can make the most of the festival

Young creatives should be doing the utmost to benefit from this year’s festival. In response, clients and agencies should be considering how they can create an engaging atmosphere for them. Here are three suggestions:

Network, network, network

For young creatives, a good community can make all the difference for finding the best career opportunities. Festivals like Cannes are designed to help people build these kinds of communities. This expectation provides the perfect atmosphere for meeting new people, especially for young creatives eager to get into that first role.

LinkedIn provides the best platform to facilitate these meetings. Behance or The Dots, which specialize in promoting representative talent, are also useful platforms. Sure, those attending in person can sidle up to a stranger on the beach, but that can be very daunting. Sending a connection request on LinkedIn with a short personal message requesting a coffee is a lot easier—both for you and the person you’re approaching. It also allows you to target people with more precision.

Those experiencing the festival online might hang their heads at this point. But Cannes can still be a brilliant place to make connections. Events, keynote talks and award ceremonies all provide perfect opportunities to contact people. Perhaps someone you admire exhibited a particularly interesting piece of work, for example. Sending them a message with your thoughts will encourage them to engage with you.

Those in the industry should consider the importance of Cannes to young creatives this year. For many, it will be their first committed interaction with the industry. Many attending in person won’t have access to an official pass. Making time to visit unrestricted areas of the festival will give them opportunities to meet you. They will offer you a new perspective on the world, a brand, or a way of working that may just pay off for you and your clients next year. It’s our duty to foster their talent.

Exploit the accessibility

This year’s Cannes will be special in more than one way, and the most important difference is the accessibility. We talk so much about creating equal opportunities for young people in this industry, but our actions do not always reflect that desire. With Cannes and the new value placed on remote learning, we have an opportunity to change that.

More free festival content than ever before will be available online. In fact, all Future Lions content will exist in front of the festival’s paywall. This means anyone can follow the Future Lions contest and listen to the related speeches without paying anything. Gymshark and TikTok are participating.

Getting that content in front of the paywall has been critical to the vision of a better and more diverse industry.

Sign up for everything

One of the main challenges young creatives face in the industry is finding their “thing.” Some people would call it a niche, although niche might sound too corporate. Finding and occupying a unique space that only you can fill and that you’re passionate about, gives you a serious advantage in this industry—an advantage many underestimate.

Many make the mistake of assuming you can just pick something and stick with it. But that’s the wrong approach. Acquiring a personal taste takes time and thought to develop. It needs to feel natural. Don’t specialize too early, you might miss the one thing that you really love doing. Don’t be afraid to learn various skills from marketing to graphic communication to UX design before you land where you need to be. The experience won’t be wasted, and it will make you a more rounded individual.

Cannes provides a brilliant opportunity for young creatives to develop in this respect. You should sign up for as many events, talks and awards ceremonies as you can. Get yourself onto as many RSVP lists as possible. Take notes of the work you like. Take notes of the work you don’t like. Remember the brands that did good work and connect with their creatives to discuss it. All these things will help you develop as a creative. You’ll gain a competitive edge in the process.

This year’s Cannes Lions festival is the first of a new era for the creative industries. Nobody knows exactly how that will look, but young creatives will play a critical role. Exploiting the unprecedented accessibility and immersing themselves in everything Cannes is the best they can do to act their part. We professionals need to step up to support them, too.

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