In every turbulent time throughout history, positive change has been borne out of confidence, and that driving force can be applied to everything, from personal goals to marketing campaigns.
During Cannes Lions on Friday, in a session called “The Strange Power of Confidence,” three delegates shared personal and professional experiences that produced more confidence in the world around them.
Susan Somersille Johnson, chief marketing officer of SunTrust, began her career as an engineer before she became a marketer. Johnson said that math and science build confidence because they are based on facts, but marketing was intimidating because her work would be judged on human perception and opinion.
Johnson was moved, however, in SunTrust’s commitment to helping US citizens achieve “financial confidence.” The bank researched how citizens felt about money, and after interviewing 195,000 people learned that a majority of Americans worry about their financial situations.
SunTrust found three principles that can lead to financial confidence that can be applied to other situations as well. The first step to confidence is to know what matters most in your life.
“When your priorities are clear, your confidence doesn’t waver,” said Johnson.
The second step is to get educated—using the tools available and learning from those who have experienced and conquered the same problem. The third principle, Johnson explained, is the importance of leaning on a friend.
SunTrust launched an initiative called “onUp” that debuted during the Super Bowl. The program now has over 3.4 million participants.
OnUp was produced by Scott Goodson, founder and CEO of StrawberryFrog. His marketing experience has taught him that advertising can do more than sell products—it can start a movement.
“Movements are about experience, having a mindset, action, trying something new and having the confidence to start something new,” said Goodson.
StrawberryFrog worked with Jim Beam, a legacy spirits brand that was in need of a brand facelift. Bourbon had long been associated with older men sitting around smoking cigars, but that didn’t match the current audience. In response, Goodson and his team wanted to change the way consumers looked at Jim Beam and bourbon in general, so they created a movement called “Make History” with a young female spokesperson (Mila Kunis). And it worked.
“The movement was about change, which was really necessary because [Jim Beam] is a 223-year-old brand that had gotten a lot of dust on it.”
A brand’s leader may have a vision for the product but a mere advertising campaign may not be enough to inspire passion down to the ground-level of a company. A mandate from the top of an organization can demand change, but people can choose not to engage or just work somewhere else, Goodson explained, while a movement can inspire trust, creativity, passion and confidence among employees.
“You can apply the principles of a social movement to mobilize the masses and create confidence to create positive change.”
David Oyelowo is an actor and producer that portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which required a lot of confidence. Oyelowo joined Johnson and Goodson on stage to share how confidence plays a major part in any life pursuit, especially acting.
Oyelowo shared how he learned confidence by learning, preparing and working with seasoned professionals. like Daniel Day-Lewis and Tom Cruise.
“I don’t think confidence is something that is innate for us as human beings,” said Oyelowo. “When we are born, we come into this world anxious. It’s something that is learned. That, as far as I’m concerned, is to do with preparation. As an actor, the success of that role is entirely dictated by the level of preparation I apply to it.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he said, was a prime example of someone who gained confidence in the face of adversity by drawing on what was important to him alongside intense preparation.