On this episode, we launch a special summer mini-series recorded live from the Cannes Lions 2023 International Festival of Creativity. frog was an official partner of the event, where we hosted a cabana along the famed croisette. What ensued was four days of programming that included on-stage panels from our sunny beachside terrace and interviews with expert guests from leading brands in our on-site recording studio. In these series, we bring some of these conversations to you.
Day One in the frog Cabana, we focused on the theme ‘Innovation in a World of Flux.’ Find out what our experts have learned about driving transformation at a time of near constant change, how to be a “maker brand” and the role of data-driven insights.
Design Mind frogcast
Bonus Episode: Voices from Cannes: Innovation in a World of Flux with Sanofi, PMI & Marketing Week
Guests: Gagandeep Gadri, Managing Director, frog; Véronique Bruhat, Head of Digital Health for Specialty Care, Sanofi; Dr. Moira Gilchrist, VP & Director of Scientific & Strategic Communications; Russell Parsons, Editor-in-Chief, Marketing Week
[00:09] Elizabeth Wood: Welcome to the Design Mind frogcast. Each episode, we go behind the scenes to meet the people designing what’s next in the world of products, services and experiences, both here at frog and far, far outside the pond. I’m Elizabeth Wood.
[00:24] Elizabeth Wood: Today on our show, we’re bringing you something a little different. This is the start of a special summer mini-series recorded live from the Cannes Lions 2023 International Festival of Creativity. frog was an official partner of the event, where we hosted a cabana along the famed croisette. What ensued was four days of programming that included on-stage panels from our sunny beachside terrace and interviews with expert guests from leading brands in our on-site recording studio. In this four-part series, we’re going day-by-day, sharing these interviews with you. Now, you might hear a bit of background chatter from a very active cabana, or even an air conditioning unit–June is hot in the south of France. But it all adds to the ambiance. So let’s jump in.
[01:09] Elizabeth Wood: Day One in the frog Cabana, we focused on the theme ‘Innovation in a World of Flux.” The day was hosted by frog’s Global Managing Director Gagandeep Gadri and featured discussion on everything from avoiding the pitfalls of so-called ‘innovation theater’ to real company journeys driving transformation and even whether brands can ever truly be authentic or are more often guilty of smoke-and-mirror tactics. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s go to the source to learn more about frog’s presence at Cannes, why we centered Day One on innovation and what we learned from these conversations.
[01:44] Gagandeep Gadri: I’m Gagandeep. I’m the Global MD of frog. We’re in a flux every day. We’re trying to fight with the everyday demands of cost of living, inflation, high energy bills. There’s horrible things going on like the Ukraine War. At the same time, businesses are being hit by new technologies like AI. But we’re also being told: How do we protect the world? Be more sustainable? Be more inclusive?
[02:08] Gagandeep Gadri: Innovation theater is all about organizations or brands doing innovation for innovation’s sake, but it not having a real impact in the world. So what we say is: How do businesses avoid that so that they can make innovation with the latest technology or thinking but have a real impact?
[02:25] Gagandeep Gadri: We were at Cannes because we wanted to learn. We wanted to learn, find out what’s going on in the world of creativity and marketing. Also, share our thinking as well. Many insights. What I really liked is how technology and data can play a big fold into things with when we were speaking with Adobe to scale innovation. Speaking with Dr. Moira Gilchrist. You know, if a business like Philip Morris International can innovate to change their business, then I think any business can do it. I was also really delighted and interested when I spoke with Véronique from Sanofi about all of the innovation they’re doing to drive healthcare forward, which we need to do to make sure we help more and more people.
[03:04] Gagandeep Gadri: I want to thank everyone who joined me on the first day, all our guests that came from all over the world to be with us and also all the great crew at frog as well who without them we wouldn’t be able to do the show that we did.
[03:17] Elizabeth Wood: Thanks, Gagandeep. With that, we’re going to share some of these insights from our Day One panelists. First up, you’re going to hear from Véronique Bruhat, Head of Digital Health for Specialty Care at global health and pharmaceutical company Sanofi. Here, Véronique shares how Sanofi is working with frog to drive human-centricity in life sciences, the role of behavioral data in healthcare innovation for patients, agile working styles and why all companies shouldn’t hide from failure. Here’s Véronique now.
[03:49] Véronique Bruhat: It’s coming back to what the patient wants and patients are human beings. So it’s really back to their actual core needs and their desire to be healthier for a longer time. When you look at what the consumerization of healthcare means in my space, which is the rare disease space, it’s really about giving information to patients who are actually consumers as well. It’s about education of their disease, the education about their health, so that they can make better decisions for themselves. In my space, patients are typically quite sick for a long time. And they’re going to remain, I would say, in this condition for their lifetime. So how can we make the treatment and the care more accessible to them? More convenient, so that we actually remove the anxiety and the burden of treatment? And the last part is that everyone is different. So, how do we personalize the engagement with patients?
[04:46] Véronique Bruhat: Typically, when you are in a very serious condition, you actually already know. You don’t want to be reminded constantly that, yes, you are sick. So it’s really about managing the emotional aspects of the disease as well. It’s really about being there at the right moment, having a human touch in the way we talk to them. Yes, we are a pharma company, but at the same time, we want to have personalized engagement with our patients.
[05:10] Véronique Bruhat: So obviously, it’s a big transformation of healthcare to leverage data in real time from patients. So I think the fundamental part here is trust–building this trust. What’s your relationship with patients? Making sure that the use we are making from their data is relevant for them first. So when we actually do look at some of their behavioral data on the way they are treating themselves, how can we give them back insights, information that can help them better treat themselves, in terms of what matters for the patients. I will say, it’s coming back to living a better life in treatment. Giving them information about how they are doing with their routine. Can we help them get better with their routine? Can we help them refill their treatment before they actually figure out that they need to go back to the pharmacy? So, anticipating some of their needs and facilitating their overall life in treatment.
[06:09] Véronique Bruhat: In the company, we are thinking about privacy by design. So what it means is really making sure that we only collect data if we think that there will be an added value for patients, and that we can deliver this value as soon as possible so that they are seeing the use of why it matters for them to share with us, and why they can do it in the trustworthy space. So behind privacy by design, behind the legal framework, there is also the long, long lasting relationship. It’s really the heart of what we do: to put privacy by design at the center of building solutions.
[06:46] Véronique Bruhat: The last big thing I would say, for us, and at least for me personally, is how do we change the way we work? So obviously, we are in the digital team, but in a space of core business functions, such as the medical, the regulatory, the commercial teams, to be successful, we need to work in an agile fashion with all the core capabilities of the company. So, bringing agile in the way we work every day is going to continue to be one area of focus. It’s changing the way we work. Again, as I was mentioning on the panel, it takes 10 years to bring the next drug to market. So how do we half that time? Can we half that time? Imagine the difference it’s going to make for patients if we just cut by to the time it takes to bring the drug to market? So agile is part of that data, obviously, and making sure we are making the right bets as well.
[07:37] Véronique Bruhat: Human-centered design is a core capability that the company needs to build internally to actually become best in class at some point. As part of this process, frog is helping us, showing what that looks like. So to get started, to get us, you know, up to the level of expectation we want to go showing us what best in class is, showing us the North Star, helping us. frog is everyday holding our hands. That’s really what it comes to: holding our hands everyday. And helping us along this journey is how we’ve been working with frog.
[08:08] Véronique Bruhat: It’s coming back to the theme of the day: innovation theater. And what does it mean? It means that you only showcase what works. And actually innovation is a journey. So you cannot expect that you will be successful each time you are launching this new technology or this new experience. What matters for me in particular is that we’re being honest of what we are able to achieve. Also, understanding what we are learning from that doesn’t work, because actually that’s what will make us successful moving forward. So, understanding—really peeling the onion of what we are doing, understanding, measuring what we bring to patients to make sure that we are relevant, and that users are satisfied, because, again, we are in a lifelong conversation. If we want to be strongly connected to our patients, we need to understand what works for them, and learn from where actually we are less successful. And that’s how you build success in the long run.
[09:03] Elizabeth Wood: Next up, we’re talking about transforming a company to transform society. More than a billion people around the world smoke tobacco products, with many smokers facing serious and even fatal consequences. With a rich background in science, Dr. Moira Gilchrist is well aware of the risks of smoking. That’s why in her role as Vice President and Director of Scientific and Strategic Communications at tobacco giant Philip Morris International, she feels the need to be fully transparent about the harm in order to help adult smokers on their shift to using only smoke-free products. Moira joined us on stage and in the podcast studio to talk about the science-led transformation journey that the company is on toward making their legacy products obsolete. Here’s Moira now.
[09:49] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: The idea was okay, we know that smoking is harmful. We know the reason why smoking is harmful, and that’s because of the burning of tobacco, which creates thousands and thousands of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals. So we know that. But can we produce products that could ultimately replace cigarettes for those adults who continue to smoke, that have much lower levels of those harmful chemicals and therefore have the potential of being much less risky? So it took us a while. Based on that theory, we started to work on prototypes. We have one that heats tobacco rather than burning it and it produces much, much lower levels of those harmful chemicals.
[10:29] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: So we created prototypes, and then we put them through a very, very rigorous scientific assessment approach that we designed to meet the standards of regulators like the US Food and Drug Administration. Again, that took us some time. Science can take a long time. And eventually, we put the product on the market in Japan in 2015. And the results just amazed us. Consumers were queuing around the block to come and find out about the product. We’re now in, I think, more than 70 markets worldwide with our lead product, and 18, 19 million adults who used to smoke have switched completely and abandoned cigarettes. Knowing the scientific data, it makes me incredibly proud that we’ve managed to help people to leave behind the most harmful way of consuming tobacco or nicotine.
[11:23] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: It’s about fundamentally changing our entire company. So, moving from a legacy product to a range of different products and new business ventures outside of our traditional area. It’s basically making the company’s main product obsolete. As an employee, it’s incredibly exciting because when you go through such a fundamental cultural and product-based transformation, the opportunities for employees are just incredible. I’ve never been bored in PMI, moving around different parts of the organization, helping the company to get set up for these new products. I think we’re all engaged on the mission to go completely smoke-free. Everybody in the company.
[12:04] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: Regulation can play a role. And I think you’re really encouraging governments to think about what we call ‘differentiated regulation.’ So let’s have the harshest possible regulations on combustible cigarettes. But for the alternatives, we should have some differentiation that allows us to communicate to adult smokers. And we don’t want people who don’t already smoke. We’re not interested in creating a new audience. It’s the one billion people in the world who smoke today who are the interesting audience for us. But we’d like to be able to tell them that these products exists. So we’re encouraging governments, “Hey, just give us a little bit of flexibility there so that we can make this transformation go faster.”
[12:44] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: I’m a scientist. Scientists look at data and evidence. So I had this naive thought, when we first started to get this data that we would show it to people, and they will be like, “Oh, great, fantastic. Let’s go. Let’s move.” Well, the opposite has actually been the case. And this skepticism I think is the reason for this. You know, reticence to get involved in the debate and get involved in the data. People don’t trust us. As a communicator, I’m super respectful of that. We can’t ask people to trust us, we just have to give them the evidence, have patience and keep the communication flows going so that we can build trust. And that’s really what my job has been for the last almost a decade–building trust with all sorts of different communities. And I think we are making progress. Is it going as fast as I would like? No, it’s not. But I think there are some people who are willing to dive in and look at all of the evidence, they are willing to give us a good hearing. And so I think that’s really important.
[13:40] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: The behavioral change aspect, I think, is something that we perhaps underestimated at the beginning of the project. We had a realization pretty early on in commercialization that consumers are pretty stubborn. We all have our own habits and things that we like, routines that we like to do. And when you ask somebody to fundamentally change that, it’s a very hard ask. So we learned pretty quickly, thankfully, once we were in the midst of commercialization, that helping people through this change was going to be really important. So we spent an inordinate amount of time talking with consumers, asking them about the product, finding out where their pain points were, so that we could design better products. So we’ve had several versions of our heated tobacco product that make it easier to use.
[14:28] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: But then also these programs have coaches that help people to go through the transition from cigarettes to these new alternatives, which is not easy. So help to coach them through that either in person or virtually as well—we have virtual coaching—so that they stick with the new product and don’t go back to cigarettes. And now we have a pretty successful program. Because data from many, many countries around the world shows 70% of people, adult smokers who are purchasing the product, switch to it completely and abandon cigarettes are among the category of smoke-free alternatives. I think that’s the highest switching rate that exists. And it’s so important because as long as you’re still inhaling smoke from cigarettes, you’re still inhaling all of those potentially harmful chemicals that come in cigarette smoke.
[15:15] Dr. Moira Gilchrist: We’ve got absolutely nothing to hide. We welcome criticism. We welcome feedback. So we just put all the information out there. We also acknowledge these products are not risk-free. They’re addictive. They contain nicotine, etc. There’s nothing to hide about that. But also we want people to focus not just on the potential problems with the products, but also the opportunity. We did some modeling research recently, using WHO–World Health Organization’s–data and their methods, we looked at what could be the opportunity if the world’s smokers all transitioned to smoke-free alternatives. And what we saw was there could be a tenfold reduction in smoking-related deaths. Now, realistically, that’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen overnight. But I think it was super interesting to see the opportunity that these products provide that sometimes gets lost in the debate when people focus on ” Youths shouldn’t be using them.” Absolutely. Nobody disagrees. But let’s not forget the adults because they have the most to gain by switching and switching as early as they possibly can. So yeah, it’s a long, long term vision that we have that’s about just utterly changing the company from inside out.
[16:29] Elizabeth Wood: Our final interview of day one was with Russell Parsons, Editor-in-Chief of Marketing Week, a publication completely focused on marketing news, insights and trends. Russell moderated a panel featuring frog’s Gagandeep Gadri in conversation with Jay Pattisall, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester and Dustin Sedgwick, CMO of Payments at J.P. Morgan and Company. The panel was called ‘The Rise of the Maker Brand in the Age of Innovation’ and it was a bit of healthy debate and discussion about experimentation, what it means to stand for something as a brand–if purpose over profit is even really possible–and the true value of marketing. Here’s Russell now.
[17:10] Russell Parsons: Marketing is marketing. Let me explain. I think the Chartered Institute of Marketing, which is the charter body for marketers and qualified marketers in the UK, at least has a definition. I’m gonna get this a little bit wrong so forgive me in advance. But essentially, it says that marketing is there to serve customers and do so in a profitable way: identify their needs and serve them in a way that proves profitable to their company. Now, that’s quite straightforward. That’s the core purpose of a marketer.
[17:43] Russell Parsons: Now, of course, a lot changes. Culture changes. Society changes. Macroeconomics change. Geopolitics change. And all of that has an impact on the way that the consumer, the person that a marketer is there to serve, behaves and acts or their attitudes and what their expectations are. You have to be market-orientated or customer-orientated. But again, that’s the same as it ever was. So that’s it. That’s the job of marketing, which might be almost ridiculously straightforward. But specialisms tend to take it down a route of execution and tactics. You need to take a step back and be more strategic in nature.
[18:26] Russell Parsons: Marketing is a brilliant thing. And I think I wish more marketers realized how much they can enact, how much growth that they can inspire. It’s disarmingly straightforward and perhaps a little bit glib, like I say, but I wish they kind of had more confidence in their ability to transform. There’s so much that a marketer can do if their business and their strategic objective is to generate revenue in a sustainable, profitable way. The marketers have so many levers that they can pull. And they should feel good about that. If they want to change attitudes and behavior, they can. If their business is to do so, they can, and they have so many levers that they can pull on to be able to achieve that. There’s not many areas in the business that can have so much influence on the outcomes of an organization’s success.
[19:22] Russell Parsons: I’ve heard a lot of fluff and nonsense over the years where people talk about marketers need to speak on behalf of the customer. And organizations need to have customers at the heart of everything that they do. I tend to roll my eyes when I hear that because it makes me think, “What have they been doing to now?” As if this is some sort of Damascene moment where they’ve just realized that customers are really important. And of course, much doesn’t change. But a lot has changed in regards to the way that customers expect things nowadays. So you need to absolutely stay 100% focused. Go out and find out what it is that [customers] actually need. And I think that is essentially what’s at the heart of being a good maker brand: giving yourself up to the customer and truthfully structuring everything you do, and honestly and actually, around what they actually need. And that means good things will come in regards to innovation. That means good things as an outcome of that will come in regards to profitability as well. Easier said than done, but years and years worth of legacy that is built up around company interests and not customer interests. customers actually actually need to be at the heart of everything your business does. And marketers have a unique role as the sensible voice of the customer in an organization to make sure that they’re speaking on their behalf and driving change in service.
[20:50] Russell Parsons: I have a slight issue with the whole notion of authenticity, because authenticity is often applied when it comes to things like brand purpose. And that’s brands almost stretching for some kind of role that is beyond their function. And that’s great if they have one and that’s authentic. But there are way more than many brands who are looking for authenticity and are coming up, well, short. They end up just looking empty and vacuous in pursuit of a purpose and a worthwhile one that just isn’t there. Know your limits, I think, would be my advice to anybody looking for greater authenticity. You’ve either got provenance, you’ve got a purpose, or you haven’t. No going searching for it–consumers will just clock it straight away. You’ll end up looking weak and stupid and very generic.
[21:40] Russell Parsons: We don’t need to stretch for authenticity if one isn’t there. Going back to market orientation. It’s about understanding, identifying and serving accordingly the needs that you’ve managed to identify through proper research and proper insights. If you want to stretch into different categories or open new category entry points, then you’ve done your homework whether or not that’s about authenticity, or just good marketing. I’m not entirely sure.
[22:10] Elizabeth Wood: That’s our show. The Design Mind frogcast was brought to you by frog, a leading global creative consultancy that is part of Capgemini Invent. Check today’s show notes for transcripts and more from our conversation. We really want to thank our guests, frog’s Global Managing Director Gagandeep Gadri, Véronique Bruhat, Head of Digital Health for Specialty Care at Sanofi, Dr. Moira Gilchrist of Philip Morris International and Russell Parsons, Editor-in-Chief of Marketing Week. Stay tuned for more from our series live from Cannes Lions 2023, as well as our regularly scheduled programming of stories from and conversations with expert guests from across frog, our partner organizations, and friends from brands we love around the world.
[22:53] Elizabeth Wood: We also want to thank you, dear listener. If you like what you heard, tell your friends. Rate and review to help others find us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify . And be sure to follow us wherever you listen to podcasts. Find lots more to think about from our global frog team at frog.co/designmind. That’s frog.co. Follow frog on Twitter at @frogdesign and @frog_design on Instagram. And if you have any thoughts about the show, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out at frog.co/contact. Thanks for listening. Now go make your mark.