Last week I attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, joining the world’s leading brands, marketers, media platforms, and creative minds for a week of great discussion. It was so inspiring to see the incredible work being done, with a huge focus on innovation, technology, distribution, and change for good.

Among a number of panels I spoke at, this year I was privileged to take one of the main stages for a discussion alongside our marketing partner Live Nation. In it, we discussed the role of technology in creating meaningful and authentic connections between brands and audiences. For more than two years, Cisco and Live Nation have collaborated to enhance the fan experiences at live music events and bring our core networking and collaboration tools into new contexts for artists, their teams, and their fans on and off the stage.

The discussion was robust, thought-provoking – and leaves me excited and optimistic about the future of the live music industry and technology’s continued role in connecting everything – even people – to make anything possible. I wanted to share some key takeaways here:

  • Live music is an incubator for emotional intensity. Both technology and live entertainment are platforms for creating the most powerful type of connections: emotional & human connections. Few things connect humans together better than the experience created by a shared love of music, and a recent global study by Live Nation proves that. 
  • Cisco is tapping into the emotional intensity of live music to emotionally connect with our customers. Conventional wisdom says B2B buyers are more rational in their decision-making process – less fueled by emotion than their B2C counterparts. But a Google and CEB study found, that’s categorically wrong. The B2B buyers surveyed said they’re 50% more likely to purchase and 8 times more willing to pay a premium when they feel emotionally connected to a brand. And that’s because the emotion is fear – they aren’t just buying a pair of shoes they can return the next day. So we have to ensure we use our brand to connect emotionally with our customers, which is one reason live music is such a great venue for our brand to be in.
  • In today’s age, technology is transforming the live music experience – and Cisco enables that. Our partnership with Live Nation is a perfect example of our brand promise: Securely connecting everything to make anything possible. It’s natural that we would partner with a company like Live Nation who is thinking so innovatively about how to use technology to enhance the on-stage, audience, and artist experience. From the connections needed to bring the artist to the stage and the music to the people, to the ability of the fans to share their experiences with friends and family a world away. Behind the scenes, there is an entire world of people working to push the boundaries of what artists can do on-stage, what venues can do with digital ticketing and cashless payment, not to mention ensuring the safety AND security of fans. We’re also helping to make that a reality for sponsors and brands to do more intricate activations that resonate with fans – before, during, and after the event. Cisco technology makes the amazing possible – and not just for the live music industry, but for all industries.

A big thank you to Cannes Lions and Live Nation for a wonderful week full of learning, networking and celebrating the industry’s best work. I am inspired and excited about the future opportunities to create lasting and meaningful, emotional bonds with our customers through technology and innovation.



Karen Walker

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer