CANNES: Diageo has taken on the "very hard" task of tapping into cultural trends as a way of connecting with consumers, according to Syl Saller, the alcoholic drinks giant's chief marketing officer.

Saller outlined the approach the alcoholic drinks giant is taking to promoting cultural relevance in a session with Added Value, the marketing consultancy, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

"Brands and culture are the new hot things to talk about," she said. "But marketers totally overestimate how important their brands are to consumers."

It was, she added, "very hard" for brands to carve out a place in culture, let alone influence it, but she felt it was important to try.

"The way I think about brands in culture is: if people don't care about your brand, then make your brand the authentic champion of something they do care about," Saller said.

"We're pretty early in the journey, and that's more useful to everyone here than if we were done and declaring victory." (For more, including a four-point guide for brands hoping to make culture pay, read Warc's exclusive report: Diageo and Added Value on making culture pay.)

But first, brands have to understand the cultural changes that are taking place and to identify those trends that are of relevance to them.

"People are looking for bigger experiences that improve their lives," Saller explained.

Having spotted a relevant trend and executed an appropriate brand campaign, measurement becomes an issue. One way of tracking success is VIBE, a predictive metric developed by Added Value which aims to measure, and score, brands on whether they are Visionary, Inspiring, Bold and Exciting.

"VIBE is interesting to me because it takes the boundaries off the category [and shows] where… we sit in relationship with other brands that have cultural meaning to consumers," Saller said.

"Of course I want data that tells us what's working and what's not in ROI terms," she added. "But I also want data that can tell us what's going to happen next."

Data sourced from Warc