At the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Tencent’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chairman of Group Marketing and Global Branding, SY Lau introduced “Tech for Good” as an integral part of Tencent’s new vision and mission, and he shared the company’s practices and experiences in this regard. As the member of the CMO Growth Council, Tencent, together with 25 international companies such as P&G, Unilever and LVMH, jointly announced the “Global Center for Brand Innovation and Creativity” to open in 2020.
Regarded as the Oscar awards for the advertising and marketing sector, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has collaborated with “Tencent AI Simultaneous Interpreting” (TASI) this year, marking the first time the Festival provides Artificial Intelligence-powered real-time simultaneous interpretations in Chinese and English. Co-developed by Tencent’s Fanyijun (Mr. Translator) team and its WeChat Zhiling team, TASI had been applied in more than 100 international conferences such as China International Import Expo and Bo’ao Forum for Asia and its speech recognition accuracy is 97% on average. TASI has brought brand new experience of simultaneous interpretation for the world-class event through its AI technologies, such as self-developed neural network-based translation engine.
“Rather than the techno-optimism of the past, people are becoming increasingly cautious of technology. We should make careful choices instead of being blindly optimistic. At Tencent, our choice is ‘Tech for Good’,” said Lau. “A company should be the trustee of brand by transforming from serving business to serving humanity so as to achieve sustainable growing brand value.”
This year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity received a total of 8,854 entries in the Reach Track. The PR Lions Silver Lion Award was presented to the campaign “A Team of One”, which was co-created by the creative agency, Loong, Tencent Foundation, Tencent Marketing Solution, and China Human Organ Donation Administrative Center, and aimed to encourage organ donation. The Award further honors the team’s success record. Since the launch of the campaign on Tencent’s online platform, more than 150,000 people have taken the initiative to register for organ donation, which is four times that of 2017.
A series of sessions were organized for the Meet China Studio to promote its latest smart marketing system Tencent IN, and a partnership with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) with launch the 2019 Report on Digital Behaviors of Luxury Consumers in China, a big data-based report on China’s luxury market.
“Tech for Good”: Individual, Community, Society and World
In a digital civilization, user-centric technology innovation will be the main driver for global sustainable development, Lau said. His speech outlined four levels of how Tencent ignites the goodness in individuals to build a “universally accessible” digital community that addresses the challenges to individual empowerment, community, society and our planet.
From an individual perspective, Lau said, Tencent has developed innovative and easy ways to engage individuals in charitable causes, such as monthly donations, bundled charitable programs, and daily step challenges. By May this year, Tencent Foundation received donations totaling 5.2 billion RMB from 227 million users, making it the world’s largest online platform for public charitable donations.
At the community and society level, Tencent believes that brands should “leave no one behind” and provide information accessibility in the community and wider society. Almost all Tencent products are accessible for the disabled, enabling more people to enjoy the convenience of new technology. Tencent’s instant messenger, QQ, launched an OCR function to convert words from an image into editable text for visually-impaired people to communicate with each other online. And in more than 360 Chinese cities, people now have access to local public services through WeChat, making “Smart City” a reality. This followed two trial programs with the Guangdong and Fujian provincial governments on WeChat, “Yue Sheng Shi” and “Min Zheng Tong“. The “China Government Service Platform”, a mini program of the General Office of the State Council, also went online earlier this month. And now, Chinese citizens can access basic public services of six ministries online, such as ID registration, queries on traffic violations and penalty payments, among others.
At the global level, Tencent is addressing challenges of food, water and energy security around the world, by providing solutions based on emerging technologies such as AI. At the 2019 Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Conference, Tencent announced the establishment of a Joint Lab for Smart Agriculture in association with the Agricultural Information Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The two partners will jointly develop smart agriculture solutions based on cutting-edge technologies like IoT, robotics and computer vision. Last December, at the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge hosted by Wageningen University, Team iGrow, which was made up of Tencent AI Lab and agricultural experts, won the second place for its design of an AI-based agricultural system. This program greatly increases crop yield and resource efficiency, offering five times more output than human agricultural experts.
CMO Growth Council Launches Three Key Action Plans and Calls for “B4H”, a New Model of Brand Management
On June 20, representatives from 25 global companies like Tencent, P&G, Unilever, Deloitte and Samsung attended the forum held by the CMO Growth Council. As representatives of the Council’s brand innovation and creativity committee, Lau and LVMH Global Brand Officer Mathilde Delhoume spoke about brand value in the digital age.
“Companies are not just guardians of the brand, but trustees and should evolve from focusing on B2B or B2C to building ‘B4H’, namely Brands for Humans,” said Lau. “They should review and redefine brand value from a long-term social development and humanity perspective and switch from serving business interests to serving humanity.”
He added that companies should evolve with three strategies: to revive the strategic focus on the CMO Mission; to reinvent the foundational tenets of Marketing Craftmanship; and to bring science into the craft of brand building. Overall, these three strategies will help organizations to finally realize the value of the brand as one that “serves humanity.”
To carry out the strategies of B4H, Lau and Mathilde shared three tangible actions. The global center for brand innovation and creativity will set up CMO Masters Series, with 1000 CMOs committing to 1 hour of mentoring at regular intervals, via 1 on 1 and live webex mentoring to reach global scale. Secondly, the center will create a Marketing Innovation and Creativity Index in partnership with The Economist and make it recognized as gold standard for business growth. The center will leverage existing resources for marketers around the world, for example, leveraging the global network of Cannes Lions, WARC, ANA and others to exchange best practice, establishing a community of professionals to continuously raise the bar of mining insights and connecting brands and humans, running 21st century brand building hackathons for data alchemists, partnering with a brand-building leader to develop a learning curriculum for CMOs.