A new Cannes-tech? Spotlight on the start-ups that can give brands a new edge

Cannes beachSarah Jessica Parker, Bono, Patrick Stewart, Ralph Fiennes and Gisele are just a few of the celebrity names that will be gracing the stages of Cannes next week. But alongside them, and the usual big brands and agencies, is a new breed of Cannes speaker that can do more than add a famous face to a campaign.

The new wave of tech start-ups being showcased in Cannes are creating new and unique ways for brands to reach out to consumers in a more effective way through creative platforms and more collaborative digital experiences. Below is who we at The Project Factory will keep an eye out for.

Launched in 2012, Pixxers is a mobile platform for crowd sourcing photos via a global community. The company offers a disruptive solution to the way brands and individuals find images with a platform that allows users to source the exact image they require by asking the community to shoot the photo they need.  Whether it is an image of a band on stage at Glastonbury or a photo of a penalty shootout at the World Cup: if there’s a member of the Pixxers community in the right place at the right time, the photo is yours for a small fee.

Pixxers means brands no longer need to spend hours searching through stock photo sites for the image they want and what makes it so innovative is the social element of the app: a stranger on the other side of the world can help individuals and brands fulfil their needs, in real time if necessary. It also taps into the fan involvement that so many consumers enjoy, with the likes of Asos now crowd sourcing their own brand images using the #AsSeenOnMe hashtag.

Founded in 2013 and based in LA and London, Synkio founders Ben Perreau, John Martin and Vince Lynch describe the platform as ‘Soundcloud for licensed music’. Set up as a global network of producers, composers and artists, the platform aims to simplify the process of licensing songs for TV, film, advertisement, apps and radio productions by giving creative professionals access to music professionals they wouldn’t normally be able to reach.

Despite Synkio’s young age, it have already worked with the likes of Microsoft, Smirnoff, Audi and Barclays to find and produce great audio and music for campaigns. Why is Synkio such a revelation for brands? Quite simply, it makes a complicated process much more straightforward, allowing brands to easily traverse a licensing process that can otherwise seem impenetrable. It also allows relatively unknown musicians to put their talents in front of big brands and build their portfolios.

This interactive video platform launched in 2010 to help brands and media companies activate video audiences, deepen content engagement and drive conversations around their brand. Many brands ask for ‘viral’ campaigns, usually meaning they want to ensure their content has shareability. Zentrick has tapped into a market with infinite impossibilities through allowing sharing, the addition of new content and real-time engagement tracking.

The platform has received $3.4 million in funding to date and has worked with the likes of Unilever, Harper Collins, Wall Street Journal and Volkswagen to measurably drive engagement for existing videos. Again, one of the most exciting elements of Zentrick is its ability to make a fairly complicated process simple. Brands are able to add interactive elements to their videos in minutes. With the increasing importance of brands being ‘always on’ and constantly reacting in real-time with unique, shareable, interesting content, it’s no wonder that Zentrick is a platform in the spotlight at Cannes.

Being under the same spotlight as Pixxers, Synkio and Zentrick means we will surely be in good company. The Project Factory recognises in them an entrepreneurial spirit, appreciation of disruption, enthusiasm for showing brands ‘what’s next’ when it comes taking audience engagement to that next level, through breakthrough, dynamic platforms. We’ve proven it with our our ‘Appisodic’ platform, which powered the Sherlock: The Network game experience.

So move over celebs – it’s time to let us tech innovators bask in the Cannes sunlight. My tip for this year – avoid the overcrowded conference rooms and come and check the start-ups out. We could be responsible for your next game changing result.

Jennifer Wilson is group executive director at The Project Factory. Wilson will be speaking at Cannes Lions on Monday 16 June.