Cannes, France—I had the opportunity to attend the very first Lions Health in Cannes this last weekend. The event not only awarded the top work in healthcare advertising, it also brought together thought leaders from around the industry and beyond to talk about the opportunities ahead for life-changing creativity. This week and next, we’ll post some of the highlights here, but you can see all the live blogs and tweets from the event floor at the inVentivLions tumblr and #inVentivLions.

Here’s the first best-of post:

Jim Stengel, CEO of the Jim Stengel Company and former P&G CMO, believes we create work that changes lives, but we’re not doing enough today.

He said, your work “feels predictable; it feels expected. It feels like P&G 15 years ago. I know you’re regulated, but there are things that aren’t regulated that you can change.”

Elevating that work means having a big brand idea, creating a story and telling it, and being the kind of organization that has something to say.

These are the big shifts changing our opportunity and industry:

1. Big brand ideas 

The work that breaks through starts with an idea that transcends advertising. A single idea people think about when they think about your brand, one that’s rooted in a universal truth, is authentic to the brand, and starts with a defined purpose.

One of his favorite big idea examples is Metro’s safety campaign (an award winner here last year). It reduced near-miss accidents by 30% and earned most of its media with a simple big idea and a shareable, fun video.


2. Told in great stories

Share stories that are authentic and rewarding. Those can be stories that the brand tells or ones it’s audience does. A favorite example is Sanofi’s Connecting Nurses. It has brought together 14 million nurses from over 130 countries to share their ideas on how to bridge the gaps in healthcare and resources that happen around the world.


Sanofi is extending the program to patient communities next.

3. By energized organizations

Jim believes talent and organizational energy are the new competitive advantage.

Just 13% of employees around the world feel engaged at work today. That’s a huge gap because companies with higher engagement have 22% higher profitability. (Gallop)

Changing that starts with engaging everyone with a purpose. Employees who find purpose in their work have 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and are 1.4% more engaged in their work.

Posted by: Leigh Householder

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.