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My First Time

Academy student Bryan Smith recalls the first time he attended the Cannes Lions School

Cannes Lions is many things to many people. For some it's the ultimate meeting and networking event of the year. For others, it's a chance to recharge creative batteries by listening to inspirational speakers and viewing the best work in the world. But for many young people in the industry, Cannes Lions is an intensive learning experience: a boot camp for creativity where students get specialist training from the best brains in the industry.

created on Wednesday 22 Feb 2017

"I believe the Academy and my experience at Cannes changed my career trajectory and made me a much better client creative partner"
Bryan Smith

"I was selected through my company to attend, but I decided to go to better myself as a marketer. I was inspired by Jim Stengel’s book, Grow, which focuses on building brands to improve the lives of people. I read literature on the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, and looked up information on the instructors who would be a part of the course."

CANNES LIONS: Once you were at the Festival what did it feel like? 
BS: "Beyond the festival itself, Cannes is one of the most stunning places you could possibly visit. On the ocean in France, the city itself is beautiful.

"My first day at the festival I could feel the global scale of the Festival. I knew after my first day of class that this would be one of the highlights of my early career and this feeling lived up to my expectations."

(Young Marketers Academy, 2014. Bryan is second row from the back, fifth from left)


CL: After the Festival, what were your lasting impressions? 

BS: "Coming into the course, the aspect of Jim Stengel’s teaching style - driving young marketers to focus their brands on a higher value to benefit humanity - was intriguing. After the Young Marketers Academy, I believe the idea of building brands with a higher purpose is the most vital aspect of building long term sustainable brands.

"My second takeaway from my time at Cannes as well as from the Marketer’s Academy itself, was learning about how get the most out of my creative agency partners to build successful brands. The premise of treating your agency as an absolute and true partner that must be inspired to develop creative against a clear business opportunity is something that I learned a lot in the Academy. I believe the Academy and my experience at Cannes changed my career trajectory and made me a much better client creative partner for the agencies I work with. 

"My third takeaway from my experience was the unbelievable creative inspiration I had while at the festival. The Festival has the best creative minds & marketers from around the world describing how they’re successful in today’s marketplaces. Just the opportunity to be around that level of talent in the Academy and at the Festival was extremely beneficial."

The Cannes Lions School ,  2016 Highlights

Bryan Smith attended the Young Marketers Academy in 2014. At the time of the course he worked at Brown Forman as Associate Brand Manager for Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. He is now Senior Associate Brand Manager at Bridgestone. 

More information about the Cannes Lions School and the different Academy programmes can be found here

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