Key Takeaways from SxSW

Posted: March 25, 2014 in SEO News

Well, I’m finally both physically and mentally back from South by Southwest (SxSW). It was a great – but exhausting – week and a half. Like everyone else, I was there to both learn and have some fun doing it, which is one of the major selling points of SxSW. So, you’re probably wondering what I learned while I was there? Here are some of the key takeaways from the festival.

Oldies, but Goodies

First, let’s revisit some best practices in the field that are sometimes forgotten by marketers. I attended a session on branding, and I realized how these practices are often SxSW Key Takeawaysignored for the sake of getting a product or service out the door. So, these are worth revisiting.

  • Your brand is a collection of perceptions, and it is a promise: I’ve seen “brand” sacrificed for the sake of “getting things done”. But you have to remember that people associate your brand with their perceptions of it. If they have consistent bad experiences, they’re going to get turned off. You need to control what other people think of you and stick to your ideas because…
  • Company ideals are the ultimate driver of growth: Basically, most of your sales are driven by a small group of people who LOVE your brand. If you annoy these people by going against your brand, then you’ve lost the majority of your sales.
  • Research is only as good as what you do with it: Research for research sake is just a waste of time and money. I’ve seen so many times people that will do research, but only use research that supports their own points – or worse, they ignore the research altogether and charge on with what they “believe” is right. You must research your target audience, where they’re active, what they’re interested in, why they choose a certain brand over another, etc., to figure out if your brand matches your targets’ wants and needs.
  • Companies launch products; brands launch ideas: This was a quote by one of the panelists, and I thought it was fitting to end this section with it. This is how it should be, and it’s something to keep in mind for your marketing.

New Key Takeaways

Finally, here are some new tidbits that might be of interest to all of you.

  • Twitter considering taking away @ in replies: We’ve always been used to the “@” symbol showing up in replies to call out the person to whom you are responding. Twitter is considering removing these. Why? Twitter thinks they’re arcane. Let’s see what the the Twitter fanatics think about that.
  • Don’t use Facebook hashtags: Apparently, the Facebook hashtags aren’t working. In fact, they’re negatively affecting posts. Posts without hashtags get higher viral and organic traffic. Apparently, this is a #facebookfail.
  • College students are addicted to Snapchat: Want to reach the college-age audience? Use Snapchat. Nearly 80% of U.S. college students use it. And they’re sharing things on Snapchat that have never been shared before.
  • Social media is changing the language: Think about it. Would you have ever used the “@” symbol in anything besides email before Twitter? How about hashtags? Now, these items are pervasive. Hashtags are used on nearly all social networking platforms.
  • Everyone has “digital body language”: Physical body language says a lot about what you’re feeling and thinking, and digital body language also indicates what a person likes/dislikes, interests, income level, social popularity, etc. This information is being gathered by organizations from both foreground (what you say publicly on social networks, etc.) and background data (meta data like location, environmental, health, time, etc.)
  • Need to create brand love using neurochemistry: Neurochemistry of Brand Love: This was a rather interesting session. It tracked with brain waves how someone was reacting to an ad. Ads that had some type of emotional connection did better than those without it. According to the presenters, brand love and real love use the same neurochemical pathways. So anything that creates some type of emotional trigger can elicit brand love. But, you need to figure out what those triggers look like and what experiences create those emotional connections. The presenters predicted that the future of ads is personalized ads.

Did you go to SxSW? What did you learn? Share your experiences!

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