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from sxsw 2011
The interactive component of the South by Southwest festival started out humbly enough in 1994 as the much smaller sibling to the seminal music event that had started almost a decade earlier. Today, South by Southwest Interactive, also known as SXSWi or even SXSW for short, is the marketplace’s preeminent event for all things digital and social media related. And it’s the reason thousands of practitioners, investors, entrepreneurs and marketers far and wide descend on Austin, Texas, every year. More so than any other event in its category or class, SXSWi provides a rare multisensory glimpse into the next chapter of the digital revolution. It accomplishes this by aggregating a cross-section of unparalleled digital thought leaders and providing them with a forum to share how interactive media is changing the way we communicate, conduct commerce and express ourselves creatively. This year, as always, BBDO/Proximity Worldwide weighed in on the SXSWi conversation. This meant both sharing what we’ve learned and listening to hone in on the real signals amid the noise. At the end of it all, we came away with what we felt were 10 of the most important takeaways from specific sessions hosted at SXSWi 2011. They contain lessons that every brand should take heed of as this digital revolution continues to unfold. Here then are 10 lessons from SXSWi. We encourage you to take them in, discuss them, put them into action and share them with others; at least until there are 10 new lessons to be learned a year from now.
10 Lessons From SXSW 2011
1 2 3 4 There Are Three Types of Relationships The Value of Fans Is Zero Keep People Engaged with Game Dynamics Great Augmented Reality Is Useful, Simple and Natural The Long Tail Applies to Content, Not Just to Products Enable New Experiences and Create Serendipity Through Check-ins The Brand Site Is Dead Enchant Your Audience Tap into Data in a Whole New Way
7 8 9
10 Incorporate Giving into Everything You Do
There Are Three Types of Relationships: Authority, Exchange, Communality
Social media is based on behaviors of friendship (communality):
sharing valuable information, entertaining each other, support in a crisis, celebration of a personal achievement. Established behaviors of transactions (the way we historically interact with brands) can feel awkward and forced in social media. To build meaningful relationships with customers within this channel, brands must:
Pull Back the Curtain:
Best Buy's @twelpforce is a great example of this. They use a separate logo and give access to individual employees to help. It makes everything feel more real.
Stop Selling. Start Sharing:
Be more like a friend. Share things that you find interesting.
Stop Talking. Start Listening:
See Southwest or Bravo – They tweet story lines and features and use input from social media to decide what products and shows to create, like Bethenny Getting Married. Photo by Laura Lea Nalle
The Value of Fans Is Zero (Until You Do Something with Them)
Four factors that all brands should consider when trying to determine the value of their fans: Customer’s potential profit: Is your product or service a big-ticket item? Or is it an inexpensive good that you’re hoping customers will buy all the time? Customer’s influence potential: Influential followers can win over new fans and advocate for your brand. Think beyond friend counts: expertise, amount of content, connections within a given community. Customer acquisition costs: How are you drawing your fans in? Through discounts or content? What did those cost you? Cross-pollinating between social and other forms of digital advertising can lower your acquisition cost. Customer brand affinity: Not all fans are equally engaged — some are better brand advocates than others. Engaged fans have shown a correlation with increased spending, but a causal link has not been established.
w to communicate and impact our consumers online. 6
The value of a fan can vary from one company to the next — but fans aren’t worth anything unless we engage them.
Keep People Engaged with Game Dynamics
Last decade was about social; the next decade will be about gaming. Gaming can influence and change everything we do, from business and education to worldwide change.
As marketers, we should apply the following gaming principles:
Encourage customers to level up:
Photo by Laura Lea Nalle
With games, the better you are, the faster you move up. Brands can emulate this. For instance, with AmEx, the more you spend, the more access/status you gain (AmEx Blue/ Gold/Black/Platinum).
Unlock rewards for continued gameplay: Unlocked content or
freebies keep players (customers) motivated.
Image by Justin Buonvino
The next decade will be about gaming
Use the countdown mechanic to spike activity:
Groupon is the ultimate game: you have a countdown in which you have to get a number of people to purchase the same deal as you for the deal to be on. If the product or service offers true value, customers don't mind being put "on the clock."
Great Augmented Reality Is Useful, Simple and Natural
Current interesting uses of AR: Google Goggles – picture search
AR spending is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2015. The challenge is for marketers to create experiences that are useful and simple, and build on a natural behavior. Smartphones will reach critical mass and will act as your lens to the augmented physical world and a way for brands to check in with you via ads, deals and rewards.
Word Lens – translates written foreign-language Viewdle – facial recognition integration with Facebook Up and coming in the space: Enhanced vision systems – for example, goggles that show you how to fix your car. Near field communication – objects talk to your phone and automatically start a video or movie. Issues of privacy and virtual advertising rights.
Photo by Plantronics
...an opportunity for niche content to reach the right audiences...
Photo by Mary Sledd
The Long Tail Applies to Content, Not Just to Products
Successful Web content, unlike broadcast media, needs to be more targeted, because you can’t target everyone on the Web. The Long Tail of Content suggests that there is an opportunity for niche content to reach the right audiences. Effective communications come from revealing a personality. Online personalities (such as those on YouTube) are getting a ton of hits because people emotionally connect to the personalities. As online viewership grows, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers may replace Q Scores as metrics for celebrity influence.
Enable New Experiences and Create Serendipity Through Check-ins
Foursquare 3.0 is about making check-ins more interesting: recycling your data and making recommendations. It also presents game mechanics that encourage you to do more interesting things.
Location-based services are no longer just about finding your friends and announcing to your friends that you are at someplace that is cool. It is now pushing towards the discovery of new places and experiences through proximity to your current location, or referrals and recommendations from friends in your circles.
Dennis Crowley, Co-founder and CEO, Foursquare Photo by Paul Hudson
Location meets loyalty:
Foursquare and AmEx launched a pilot program during SXSW with 60 merchants – including Whole Foods and Starwood Hotels. Foursquare users unlocked “the Loyalty Special” – which offered Foursquare users “spend $5, save $5” rewards when they loaded the special and swiped their AmEx cards. AmEx will extend the program to its local merchant network, allowing them to set up, run and fund their own offers. AmEx wins, by spurring purchase activity, loyalty and growth in Next Gen membership Foursquare wins gaining access to AmEx’s card members, merchants and data. It also benefits from mainstream cross-over.
Merchants win with easy-to-implement customer loyalty programs, repeat purchases, and the ability to communicate to loyal customers. Customers win with more rewards.
The Brand Site Is Dead
We need an evolved brand site – one that does not function as a closed-ended landing page but rather as the hub of a larger ecosystem connected by an alwayson network of owned media, social (earned) media channels, and content APIs. The development of this content can and should be directly influenced by consumer input and participation. Content should be built around what consumers are seeking and connecting with and when they are seeking it, versus just what you want to sell, when you want to sell it. In this new brand ecosystem, CONTENT is king and CONTEXT is queen. Disruptive media models are DEAD and accessibility wins the day.
...content is king...
Content needs to be entertaining, applicable, relevant, timely and easily found across all devices and platforms. This is no longer an "or" discussion when it comes to where to distribute content; now it becomes an "and" discussion. Your content must be enabled to be everywhere a consumer might look for it, and be available when they want it. Just look at the success of Netflix and Huffington Post as brands and think about how your brand can behave like a broadcaster and publisher. Own the direct relationship with your audience. Engaging content speaks to the consumers on a personal level. It needs to tell a story or meet a need. And these needs can be for mass and niche audiences. Free tools like Google insights, Facebook insights, Twitter Trending Topics and YouTube insights will tell you what consumers are seeking or talking about. While the old brand site kept content in one place, the evolved brand ecosystem will let content live in many places, giving people what they want, when they want it and in the form they want it. In return, they will spread the word for you.
Matt Di Paola of Proximity Canada participating on SXSW 2011 panel "Branded Entertainment: Do Brands Hurt Good Storytelling?"
“Engaging content speaks to the consumers on a personal level. It needs to tell a story or meet a need. ”
—Matt Di Paola, Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Proximity Canada
The three pillars of enchantment are: Be Likable: You want the likability of Virgin Airlines (Richard Branson once shined Guy Kawasaki’s shoes with his coat sleeve). Achieve trustworthiness: You have to trust others before they trust you (Amazon, Zappos and Nordstrom have very generous return policies to ensure the customer is satisfied). Offer a great product or service: Like Apple, offer something DICEE: Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering and Elegant.
Enchant Your Audience
“You want the likability of Virgin, trustworthiness of Zappos and product of Apple”
— GUY KAWASKI during his SXSW 2011 Keynote
Photo by Carrie C. Stern
Sense, Analyze, Remember, Recommend
Tap into Data in a Whole New Way
We can use smart products and accessible data to change the way we live. Harness data from our daily actions By linking your smart fridge to your FreshDirect account, there’s no worry of ever running out of milk. Aggregate the data we generate With the Nike+ SportsWatch GPS, the world’s largest running community was created by tapping into human behavior across the globe. Juxtapose disparate data The website Tonight.Im scores fluctuations in weight against Foursquare check-ins, allowing us to see how our behavior can produce identifiable trends and project future outcomes. Repeating the following four steps allows us to successfully monitor and leverage naturally occurring data: Sense, Analyze, Remember, Recommend.
Incorporate Giving in Everything You Do
Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoegiver, TOMS shoes, gave an inspiring keynote on how companies can adopt “giving” as a sound business strategy:
When you incorporate giving into your business, your customers become your marketers.
The giving dynamic creates impassioned customers.
When you incorporate giving into your business, you attract and retain the most amazing employees in the world.
When people serve together, they forget about all their stress. It does amazing things for the culture.
When you incorporate giving into your business, you attract and retain the most amazing partners.
Ralph Lauren - designed TOMS for his Rugby Line. AT&T/BBDO - came on a shoe drop and featured TOMS in a TV spot - which resluted in an extra sale of 100k shoes.
Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoegiver, TOMS Shoes Photo Courtesy of TOMS Shoes
Spaces to Watch
Like the FedEx presence at SXSW, there were a few things that we just couldn’t ignore:
Daily deals are the latest craze, with deal sites (Groupon), publishers (Daily Candy) and media networks (Group Commerce). But how can merchants benefit? Especially B2B?
Location and Local
The convergence of widespread smartphone usage, near-field communication, LBS, search and 3G/4G networks will put location and local at the center of how and where we choose to engage the customer.
Apps vs. Mobile Web
An app is not a mobile strategy but is increasingly gaining popularity vs. a mobile-optimized website. What are the pros/cons to each (SEO, features)?
Services like GroupMe were indispensable to SXSW attendees. What is their future beyond SXSW?
WRITTEN BY MICHAEL BANTIGUE MATT DI PAOLA EDITED BY EDWIN PHILOGENE
WWW.BBDO.COM WWW.PROXIMITYWORLD.COM WWW.DIGITALLABBLOG.COM
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