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Tencent’s Lau Reflects On The CMO Growth Council, Brands And Consumers

CANNES—As a caretaker of the world’s eighth-largest brand, Tencent’s CY Lau believes that marketers must be both the ultimate trustees of brand legacy and “defenders of consumers.”

As a member of the “Group of 25” under the aegis of the CMO Growth Council, Lau is hoping to create “congregations of marketing organizations” to restablish the importance of marketing, he explains in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“The conundrums of the marketing fraternities that we’re facing today largely has to do with some of us have kind of deviated from the very first mandate or mission of being a great marketer,” says Lau. “Marketing in the past used to be a very, very highly regarded profession that brings great values to society.”

Lau, who is Tencent’s SEVP, Chairman of Group Marketing & Global Branding, gave a presentation at Cannes to introduce “Tech for Good” as an integral part of Tencent’s new vision and mission. His speech outlined how Tencent ignites the goodness in individuals to build a “universally accessible” digital community that addresses the challenges to individual empowerment, community, society and the planet.

One example is the Tencent Foundation, which engages individuals in charitable causes such as monthly donations, bundled charitable programs and daily step challenges and has become the world’s largest online platform for public charitable donations.

One of the goals of the CMO Growth Council at Cannes was to figure out how to turn the passion displayed by its participants in meetings over the past year into concrete action. “It has to move beyond passionate individuals…into an organizational-led movement,” says Lau. “The real thing is not about hastily coming out with solutions, it’s really about being honest to ourselves.”

Asked by interviewer Joanna O’Connell, who is VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, whether marketers face a challenge of process or people, Lau points to the latter.

“Everything leads back to people, because people create process,” he says. In seeking to create a “global center of excellence for innovations and creativity,” the Council must “let information flow, let people really cultivate a life-long learning experience” as opposed to seeking quick fixes.

So how has a company as powerful as Tencent benefitted from its participation in the CMO Growth Council? “Immensely,” Lau says, adding that the company is “very privileged and fortunate to be among the McDonald’s the Googles the IBM’s of the world. But then we must remember that we’re only 20 years old.

“There is also a strong ambition, there’s a strong dream, to share with the world what we thought have made us from good to great, from China, from Tencent, from the so-called first mobile-first land of the world.”

You are watching Beet.TV coverage of the CMO Growth Council Summit in Cannes. This series is presented by Teads. For more videos from our series, visit this page. Please find all our coverage from Cannes 2019 right here.