BIG DATA USED IN
From panels about using data to predict fashion trends to sessions
about how social media could be used to predict gun violence – a trend
we consistently came across was using data in new and smarter ways.
Embracing “Big Data” and the many smaller, more granular data points
has helped marketers achieve measurably better results. Additionally,
understanding, collecting and managing data, as well as data privacy
were a big trend at SXSW 2016.
Scalable communication with consumers is expanding from a pure “1-to-
many” to a “1-to-1” model, which makes room for more personalized
and tailored messaging from brands to consumers. As of now, messenger
apps are one of the very few spaces where ads have not been introduced
yet and brand activations, for the most part, provide value to the users.
Messengers are more personal than social platforms and marketers should
keep this intimate nature in mind when planning to enter the space.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE &
From advanced robots like Jibo and Sophia, to simpler devices like Alexa,
artificial intelligence and robotics were a hot topic at SXSW 2016. Aside
from technical challenges of developing machines that can recognize
emotions and respond adequately, human adoption of interacting with
machines has also been cited as a challenge. However, the success of
Alexa among various age groups including kids has bolstered excitement
around what’s possible.
IMMERSIVE AUGMENTED &
Many activations during the conference included Augmented Reality or
Virtual Reality technology. In contrast to awareness-driving TV spots,
engagement-based social marketing, or conversion-based direct response
programs, AR and VR offer users the chance to be immersed in a brand’s
experience or bring a brand experience into the world around them. This
can make the experience more personal and build additional trust between
a consumer and a brand.
FORWARD PROGRESS FOR
Merging TV with social behavior, live streaming was discussed as an
important trend in a variety of sessions at SXSW. In addition to Periscope
and Facebook live, niche companies like Amazon-owned “Twitch”
(gaming) and cooking startup “Nom” offer users a TV channel-like
experience, adding the value of a community of people who share the
same interests, and a host who could be a user’s neighbor.
MARVIN, ROBOT, IBM
He may not be a person, but he may end
up being your next best friend. At the
IBM Cognitive Studio, a Watson technol-
ogy-powered robot named Marvin played
“Rock, Paper, Scissors” with SXSW at-
tendees. Throughout the game, spectators
could see how Marvin was assessing his
moves, and were entertained by his jokes.
The Watson technology which makes him
not only a source of information, but also a
source of entertainment, could be the key
to making people more comfortable with
robots in the near future.
DAVID FELLER, CEO & FOUNDER,
It’s not easy to look at the consumer’s
lifestyle and identify an opportunity to
simplify and/or improve that life and then,
on top of that, build a tool or product to
do so. But that’s exactly what David Feller
did with Yummly. Interestingly, when he
came up with the idea for the company,
he was thinking of how he could invent
“the equivalent of Pandora for the food
JJ ABRAMS, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT,
BAD ROBOT PRODUCTIONS
A creative disruptor in the movie industry,
Abrams is famous for introducing
unexpected approaches to creative
storytelling. At “The Eyes of Robots and
Murderers” panel, he shared his POV on
technology, creativity and the latest trends
in the context of storytelling.
ILANA GLAZER AND ABBI JACOBSON,
CONTENT CREATORS & WRITERS
Magazine publisher Marie Claire hosted
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, co-
creators and writers of “Broad City” on
Comedy Central, for a session to share
their creative process, the latest on
Season 3, and behind-the-scenes dirt.
Revealing more of their true feelings about
the world than most people can in front
of their own families and friends, they
were candid and authentic in a way which
brought much value to the session.
ASHLEY MAINZ, SOCIAL BUSINESS
MANAGER, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
During an era when many consumers take
to Twitter to comment on poor travel
experiences, Ashley has great insight into
the brand/consumer relationship in this
capacity and finds that, by focusing on
building the 1:1 relationship versus trying
to achieve positive sentiment at scale, she
can convert “agitators into advocates.”
MASHABLE + QUALCOMM’S
Mashable partnered with Qualcomm to host an “Invisible Museum” –
taking the technology of augmented reality and using it to educate. When
a guest walked into the room, they were given an iPad. As they walked
around, they could hold the iPad up to different, all white structures and
the iPad would transform them into interactive scenes that the guests
could click on to learn more about Qualcomm services.
ANALOG FROM AMERICAN
American Greetings created “Analog” – an activation that reminded
guests that interactive and digital are not synonymous. Through a
printmaking and pop-up card workshop called “paper engineering,” guests
were encouraged to create messages for friends. In one experience, those
who love GIFs could dance in front of a camera that recorded 28 sticker
pictures, which the guest could then print and tape onto a rolodex-type
wheel and spin to make a GIF flipbook.
Sony’s Future Lab gave SXSW visitors an inside look at beta technology
with an “Interactive Tabletop”. One new tool shared was an interactive
projector that could recognize objects, such as characters in a children’s
book. The user could then interact with the characters in the book, i.e.
“move” them around, to literally make the story come to life.
USA NETWORK’S MR. ROBOT
Client USA Network re-created part of a key location from its hit show ‘Mr.
Robot’ for an eye-catching SXSW experience. The activation took the form
of a giant Coney Island Ferris Wheel. This activation managed to be highly
visible to everyone at SXSW, while staying highly relevant to the show and
CASPER’S NAP STATION
The mattress company Casper turned heads with an easy pop-up nap
station in the middle of SXSW. Playing up their simple, straight forward
design and seamless delivery and return policies, the experience helped
attendees understand what their brand is all about, and provided
everyone a space to nap (which many people appreciated). On top of that,
the Napping Spot was a relaxation oasis with lemonade, napping goodie
bags and seating where people could wait for or recover from their naps.
“GEN Z: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL
MICHELLE CASTILLO, STAFF WRITER,
CNBC DIGITAL; ANNA FIELER, EVP
MARKETING, POPSUGAR INC.;
SHIREEN JAWAN, CHIEF BRAND
EXPERIENCE OFFICER, LUCKY BRAND;
JACLYN LING, DIRECTOR OF FASHION
& RETAIL SERVICES, KIK
This panel explored the mentality behind the youngest spending
demographic on the scene: Generation Z. The panelists talked about
consumer approaches to fashion, noting that gone are the days of wearing
the same “loud” brand (i.e. Hollister), as Gen Z prefers to mix and match
brands that are lesser known and better aligned to the identities they
are trying to convey. The main takeaway: Gen Z is buying brands that are
catering to the things they care about: individuality, ease of experience,
and relationships. Brands that have strong/authentic brand positioning,
allow for easy purchase, and employ responsive messaging to build 1:1
relationships, will connect best with this consumer segment.
“THE HOLY GRAIL: MACHINE
LEARNING AND EXTREME ROBOTICS”
BEN GOERTZEL, CHIEF SCIENTIST,
HANSON ROBOTICS; DAVID HANSON,
FOUNDER, HANSON ROBOTICS INC;
ERIC SHUSS, FOUNDER, COGBOTICS;
STEPHANIE WANDER, PRIZE
This panel was not like the others – one
of the panelists was an intelligent robot Sophia, who took questions
from other panelists and the audience. Sophia was strikingly smart and
mused out loud about her future among humans. The panel covered the
technological difficulties of advancing artificial intelligence, as well as
ethical questions about robotics, adoption and integration of intelligent
machines into the daily life of humans.
“MEET NOM: FOOD AND THE FUTURE
OF LIVE VIDEO”
MATT DUCKOR, SENIOR EDITOR,
EPICURIOUS.COM AND STEVE CHEN,
Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube,
recently launched Nom.com – a foodie-
focused live video platform meant for
everyone from the everyday cook in a home
kitchen to restaurant owners and high-end chefs. The creators described
it as a “choose your own adventure” type of platform because it allows for
real-time response from viewers. The new platform forces creators to be
a little raw, and one user described it as messy compared to the usually
extra-curated food content on the Internet. When asked, the founders said
that if they monetize, their only plans for the platform will be integrated,
in-video partnerships. As such, marketers should consider Digital Word
of Mouth (DWOM) and Influencer-led campaigns if/when considering
strategies for platforms such as Nom.
“THE NEW MARKETING OF BRANDS:
BODY IMAGE AND GENDER”
JESS WEINER, CEO, TALK TO JESS
LLC; MEREDITH WALKER, CO-
FOUNDER, SMART GIRLS AT THE
PARTY; VIVIAN ODIOR, BRAND MGR,
TYLENOL®, JOHNSON & JOHNSON;
YALDA T UHLS, DIRECTOR, COMMON
This panel covered ways brands have taken a stand on body image and
gender in recent campaigns and what made them successful. The panel
touched on how marketers need to take time to listen to their audiences
and then shape communications to be authentic reflections of the actual
audience, not the aspirational one, or who they think the audience wants
to be or who the brand wants them to be. Panelists also touched on the
need to take time deliberating over what conversations the brand should
have and what level of authority they have to join them. Lastly, the
session addressed how marketers should involve the consumer rather
than speak at them, and understand the “why” enough to do so.
LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING.
The popularity of messenger apps and livestreaming indicate that
diversifying the ways brands talk to their core and niche audiences is
crucial to reaching the right people. Ask yourself, are you hosting events
that could gain value from being livestreamed? Do you have an audience
that may want to hear from your brand on messaging apps? What sort of
content best delivers your message in these mediums?
PRACTICE A MINDFUL
APPROACH TO NEW
When exploring VR, IoT or any innovative technology, think about its
purpose for the brand and connection to consumers. How can you tie a VR
experience back to your brand in a relevant way that brings value to a
consumer’s life? What type of experience would you bring to a consumer if
time and space were no object – and why would they want to experience it?
THE RISE OF GEN Z AND
The generation of people who grew up with smartphones in their hands is
beginning to dictate the rules of the marketing game. Brands should be
examining the depth of their understanding of Gen Z’s media and social
habits. Not sure where to start? Try tapping into your Gen Z employees.
And if you need more intel, 360i’s Insights team is here to help.