Lessons on Marketing, Branding, PR & More From SXSW 2012
By: Nikki Little
Another South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive has come and gone. If you’ve never attended, the Austin, TX festival is one of the most chaotic, fun and valuable experiences I’ve ever had. It’s a mecca for geeks and tech nerds of all backgrounds and industries to come together to learn, share and build new memories.
SXSW is also chaotic because there are tens of thousands of people, hundreds of sessions and events to choose from and so many new and familiar people to see and spend time with. I like to think of it as organized chaos…as organized as it can possibly be!
While I loved being part of the Chevy SXSW road trip during my first SXSW experience in 2011, I definitely got more value out of my sophomore year in Austin. Maybe I picked better sessions, but I came back this year with more notes and ideas for my agency and clients than last year.
I’ll spare you the pages and pages of notes, but here are takeaways from some of the sessions I attended that will hopefully spark ideas for your own business and work:
- Iconic brands have to keep moving to stay the same. But, brands are definitive.
- Brands today aren’t owned by corporations. They are shared experiences. A brand is a relationship.
- It’s insane to create a four-year plan for your brand. The world we live in now moves too quickly.
- Our experiences are liquid and spread seamlessly across channels and our brand must follow. Must be malleable enough to pour ourselves into experiences that people create.
- Brand should be about what you want to do for people’s lives. That will help you with your story.
- What defines a digital-first brand? Distinctive, relevant, active and intentionally designed.
Can Growing a Moustache Save the World (the Movember Movement)
- Movember in 2011 – 14 countries, 856,000 participants, $117 million raised – biggest funder of prostate cancer in the world.
- Creating an app this year enabled them to continue the conversation and experience through mobile.
- To motivate people to act, never lead with statistics. Lead with images and experiences to impact people.
- Big challenge is managing brand in grassroots movement. Build things to make it simple for people with suggested wording.
- Drip feed information to people throughout the campaign to motivate ambassadors (e.g. what to say online).
- For someone just starting to create a movement – you need a strong/unique idea that is relevant to support the cause, no substitute for hard work, be passionate/persistent/patient.
Multiple Personalities – Not a Disorder but the Norm
- As people want granular control, how do you give it to them without creating a complex monster? Facebook is an example of doing this wrong with privacy controls.
- Posting photos online is your way of telling people “here’s something you can talk to me about.”
- Element of risk with converged profiles – may not want certain people to see certain info. There’s clean delineation where you have different sites. Control what you want to share. Users will feel safest if they can keep the world separate and actively decide when they want them to overlap. But, convergence is already happening at different degrees for everyone. You understand the social norms and when it’s appropriate to share info with different worlds by keeping convergence of social profiles to a minimum.
4-Hour Work Week is BS: Truths of Working Smarter
- Work more effective than efficient, yes. iPads in Cabo, no.
- Baby Boomers want to work from home more than Millennials. Eight out of 10 would if they could. 42% of employers allow some to work from home.
- But measurement and management aren’t refined yet. Coworking movement has doubled in size every year worldwide since 2006.
- Manage on results, not time.
- Call to action: business/human decision, talk about it from business perspective, be the change you want to see and be the great mobile worker, introduce new technology to teams to show them how work gets done not face-to-face, show case studies of businesses making it work for them.
Media Measurement: Science, Art or Load of Crap
- Know picture you want to paint first, then define metric.
- Info in the info age is as valuable as stone in stone age, you need tools plus context.
- Do A/B testing of content, then make decision what to write on what channel.
- Unusual measurements: science catching up with industry, not many but have to do with business metrics like point of sale, psychology. Three buckets of measurement: engagement, sentiment and amplification.
- Measurement score cards – understand KPIs and align with other efforts, then produce score cards.
The Promise and Pitfalls of Real-Time Marketing
- Real time marketing = authentic communication delivered at right place, right time, with right message.
- RTM changes the way we consume media. If you’re nimble and pay attention to news cycle and can jump on opportunities, you’ll gain coverage. Think live, consume media and be ready to change plans.
- How to use what learning to create better content: McDonald’s uses feedback online to determine what marketing is working and build more content around it. Look at what reporters are seeking online and what producers talking about online. For new Girl Scouts cookies coming out for Nestlé, they found reporters who are connected to Girl Scouts.
- Dow using PR people as community managers to find info/listen, but have scientists be front and center to respond. Used four session training process with scientists once a week for four weeks including practice time.
- Make buddies with your legal team. Show them your marketing plan at the beginning of the year so they know what’s coming ahead.
- Things to do today: practice writing to get tone/ voice right for a particular channel, evolve your voice, focus on fans, get C-suite comfy but teach it’s OK to be flawed and make mistakes through being human, don’t be reckless.
For more SXSW 2012 goodness, check out my Storify stories (super smart of Storify to make it easy for attendees to share their SXSW experiences through Storify!).
If you attended SXSW Interactive this year, feel free to share your experiences and feedback in the comments.