AK@SXSW interactive adventures in austin

First, a little scene-setting:

Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, "South By" is dedicated to helping creative people achieve their goals. The Interactive Brands and Marketing track explores the constantly evolving world and work of agencies and their clients. From native advertising to brand storytelling to predictive analytics, there’s something for everyone.

It's big.

The best way to get around.

Brands take over entire buildings.

Everyone's vying for attention.

You see guerrilla tactics galore.

Promotions pop up everywhere.

It's one big party...

...but mostly, you sit in sessions.

Texas-Size Takeaways:

1. Apps and websites are way old...and almost over.

  • More and more functionality is being added to social platforms
  • Big digital shops are advising against creating new apps
  • Instead, brands are piggybacking onto already popular apps and platforms

2. "Mobile Messaging is the new social media."

  • People check their messages before any other app
  • Branded emojis/keyboards and sticker packs are fads, just the start
  • Looking for ways to bring even more into your message feed (videos, games, etc.)

3. Create "neuroscientifically."

  • 65% heads down TV watching calls for attention-grabbing sounds, cues
  • Time peak emotion with brand reveal for effective "memory encoding"
  • Target specific audiences for maximum results (Puppymonkeybaby)

4. Trade show was more "stuff" than software.

  • Virtual/Augmented Reality
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Personalized Medicine
  • Weed Growing

5. AI (chatbots) are trending.

  • Often used to guide customers, hone choices (Nike sneakers)
  • Jordan Breakfast Club Bot (via Facebook Messenger)

6. You gotta be fast...and multitask.

It's all about creating and posting content on the fly...as it happens. Tomorrow, it'll be ancient history.

7. Bring audiences BTS.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show's rougher "behind the scenes" content got 2X as much engagement as the actual, "polished" broadcast. People want to feel like insiders, get peeks behind the curtain.

8. Pre-suasion/Persuasion

  • Pre-suasion accelerates persuasion by readying audiences for messages
  • "Psychological Funnel" into the right mindset
  • Clouds vs. Pennies furniture shopping
  • Juice Samples flyer
  • Royal Caribbean limited time email
  • Helping the Researcher experiment

9. (Quality) branded native content isn't just accepted, it's highly sought out.

  • Publishers are actively seeking these partnerships and staffing for them
  • Takes time, money
  • Has to be relevant, real, objective journalism: "Story First"
  • Cleveland Clinic & Washington Post

10. Be short, clear and quick.

"You can't buy attention."
  • The future is skippable.
  • "Forced" and intrusive ads are OUT, so you need to make ads engaging.
  • 1 second to hook viewers: "The Hook Shot"
  • 5 seconds to make them care, set the hook (Pixar rule)
  • Think "Flip Book" (Lay's Jalapeno Chips)
  • Get your brand down to one word. New York Times = Truth

Bonus Material!

Lots of brands track trends daily to see what they can leverage.

Brands used to put out 4 messages a month. Now: 4,000.

Today, brands need to be looser, more spontaneous, willing to experiment. Have to give up some control, processes. ("You can always take it down.")

"Set your guardrails, then give yourself a lot of freedom within them."

Today's metrics for social are wayyyyyyyyyy beyond clicks and likes. Lots of platforms for measuring all kinds of results.

Everything needs to be optimized for each platform. It's not just "mobile first," it's "whatever the platform is first."


Photos by Patrick Dugan

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