Celebrity appearances at industry conferences can often feel tokenistic but hip hop artist and CEO of Rock the Bells LL Cool J’s appearance at the inaugural Possible conference was a masterclass on how brands should be approaching authenticity.
He said: “You need to stay true and adapt. I only do things I’m really inspired to do.That means you’ll never be in a position to be inauthentic.
“We’re in a period now where people are very sensitive and if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, it won’t last.”
He was speaking as part of a session, The Art of the Icon: In conversation with LL COOL J; Jim Lanzone, CEO, Yahoo; and Michael Kassan Lanzone, Founder and CEO, Medialink.
“You have to have a vision and` you can’t create anything that’s bigger than what’s inside you. You have to be courageous enough to go after your dreams.”
Lanzone agreed brands needed a clear focus to survive. “Brands can lose their way by chasing growth for the sale of it. Yahoo was the first trusted guide to the internet and that’s always been our mission.”
LL Cool J said: “Any artist or CEO has to create from inside, you need to be inspired and speak from a true place. You can’t control how people react to Yahoo or a song. The essence is having the courage to create what you want to create. It’s about bravery.”
Kassan asked the panel, “Do we have a new public enemy in AI?”, appropriate given the focus on AI throughout Possible.
LL Cool J: “Technology is an accelerant. AI poses a lot of dangers, but from a creative standpoint, it’s about what artist can utilise it best. Who can harness the power of the technology the best and use it to a benefit. You have to go with it and take advantage of it.”
Lanzone: “This is just the next step for any form of content, It’s not going anywhere and we need to lean into it.
Kassan also asked about the idea of purpose and purpose-driven marketing.
LL “I’m a celebrity by default but an artist first. An artist’s responsibility is to create art and all I can do is be pure to my inspiration. I don’t walk on eggshells, what you see is what you get. Art has to be true and humility is a superpower. If you’re arrogant as a company you won’t be here long.”