SXSW – The Denver Download

SXSW 2012

After experiencing my first SXSW Interactive Conference this year, I participated in a fun and informative event back in Denver:  the SXSW Denver Download, hosted by our good friends at Ground Floor Media. The event was held last night at the cool Gallery 1261.  Presentations were made by myself, GFM’s Jim Licko and Alexis Anderson, and Lauren Preston of Qdoba Mexican Grill.  So, what were some of the key take-aways from this year’s SXSW Interactive, according to my fellow panelists?

Content needs to get more personal.  Content was the buzzword of choice at this year’s conference. Each panelist mentioned it in their presentation in different ways, but it was clearly an important topic, as brands begin to realize they need to be publishers as much as they are marketers.  Successful brands are finding ways to provide storytelling instead of selling.  They’re delivering content that is relevant, authentic, human, and above all, honest.  They’re not trying to broadcast every key message in their arsenal.  They know how to be selective, sharing moments instead of messages.

Engagement is still important.  But many marketers are struggling with a similar problem:  what to do with their follower base once it’s been assembled?  They’re realizing the importance of cross-platform storytelling, of engaging their followers across different media and in different ways.  They’re looking for ways to encourage activity and participation out of their viewers, readers or fans.  Some brands are realizing that their most engaged advocates are their own employees and team members.

Mobile keeps accelerating.  A lot of this year’s SXSW Interactive was dedicated to mobile, and the seemingly unlimited opportunities it continues to bring to brands and marketers alike.  SoLoMo refers to the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile, which are coming together to revolutionize both the consumption of content, and the targeting of specific audiences.  Thankfully, QR Codes will most likely be giving way to new marketing concepts like Social Serendipity, mobile payments, and augmented reality.

Staying nimble.  Another common point was the need for brands and marketers to remain nimble.  In the always-on digital marketing environment, companies shouldn’t expect their brands to look the same over time.  They’ll need to find ways to embrace flexibility, variety and nimbleness in telling – and evolving – their brand stories.  This will be true in terms of crafting new content, where those who wait too long will quickly be surpassed by those who jump in, even if their message ins’t 100% crafted to perfection.
Interested in more?  Slides from the evening’s presenters can be found on Slideshare.

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