What I learned at SXSW 2011

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  • Approximately 150,000 people descended on to Austin for the Interactive, Film & Music festival. 22,000+ of them were there for Interactive Austin (19M visitors per year) - which exceeds the annual visitors for Disneyland, the Eiffel Tower, and Niagara Falls
  • POINT: Have an angle CASE: This blog makes fun of a city outside of New York called Park Slope. It makes $$ via ads. For example, in this day and age having a food blog isn’t good enough. Having a food blog that re-creates every meal showcased on the Flintstones – now that’s an angle. Bobby does it too with baking. POINT: Hate some stuff You can’t always be “rah”, “rah” our brand is great. Our company is great. Everything is great. You loose credibility. Be honest about what you don’t like and what you need help with. Don’t be afraid to form opinions and share them – as you (not anonymously). This is what creates brand loyalty. Consumer who share those same views/opinions. CASE: FIPS is based on the opinions of it’s writers. Each writer signs off on their blog post. They aren’t afraid to post pictures of the town and it’s weird and whacky residents. And when they interview those folks, they tell them exactly what it’s for and guess what, they still want to participate. POINT: Be funny (but don’t try to hard) Be funny, only if you are funny. Curse like a sailor – but only if that is part of who you are (your brand values). And always make sure to make fun of yourself. CASE: If FIPS posted pictures and ripped into the residents and their habits only – they wouldn’t have a following. But because they had meat to these posts (interviews, videos, commentary – actual good writing) they are funny. And the other thing is they all live in Park Slope. They have a right to make fun of it – they live it, they are one of them. They actually find the town endearing and aren’t afraid to admit they are fans.
  • POINT: Clear vision Jib Jab’s mission is to make people laugh. CASE: Use topics for the masses and make sure you have something for everyone. Politics wins every-time. Family friendly content. Subscription model of $1/month. JOHN ST: POINT: Make it mean something CASE: Elf Yourself - By personalizing content, people want to share it, they want to view it. It has much more appeal than just a funny video. JOHN ST:
  • Don’t use your fans: POINT: Marketing campaigns to spike awareness/sales. Consumers participate because they feel like they are getting something in return. What happens during the rest of the time? You need to work on the relationship. . It’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies, you’ll have ups and downs, things to say and sometimes it’s uncomfortable silence. The important thing is to remember to cultivate those relationships. Be reliable, make your friends proud. By forming relationships it allows you to leverage those during more important issues. CASE: Nordstrom Dave when you visit the store and Dave helps you (this is men!), he’ll casually ask you if you are on Twitter and let you know that he’ll keep you up to date on clothes/trends etc. Not only does he post pictures of new clothes that come into the store (increase sales), but he’ll post who was his best dressed pick at the Oscars, a funny video on “jegging’s” for men but the cat’s meow is knowing his customers, he’ll DM them when pieces come in that he thinks they’ll like. He already has their credit card info, sizing info so sends the package to their door (shipping is free). Dave initiated this but Nordstrom has given him access to an iPAD at work, allow him to use his phone for photos. What a better way to use sales people’s time then folding t-shirts. JOHN ST: PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
  • Be a person not a brand: POINT: Why do you hang around with the people that you do? Is it because you all like basketball? The same kind of food. You donate to the same charities. You have the same morals? The same thing rings true for brands. Consumers are fans of your product when they share the same values – so make sure they know what they are. Communicate it to them – live them – act on them. You’ll get more fans that way CASE: Pepsi Refresh - During a economic crisis, Pepsi decided to share $20M with charities. Same value as their customers. JOHN ST: KRUGER SUSTAINABILITY
  • Customer service: POINT: Brands need to think of marketing and customer service as two different channels. These things can happen at the same time and even use the same platforms – but the execution of these things are different. Don’t say you offer customer service until you are actually ready to help. CASE: Time Warner – they pride themselves on the fact their customers get a response within 5-minutes on Twitter. They’ve hired hundreds of people to ensure this happens. They acknowledge questions & complaints – but don’t actually follow through on solutions. Customers are contacting you at their greatest point of rage – so unless you have a solution don’t answer it at all, because it just encourages more complaining. JOHN ST: Our clients customers are talking about them online. They should be there, but not if they can’t support it. So at the very least they should be listening to what their customers are saying. We have a tool here at john st. that we can offer to clients called Radian 6 – what it does is it monitors conversations on social media.
  • Set a mission and live by it: POINT: If you set a clear goal for your company and make sure you hire folks who believe in that goal – decisions are easy. You empower folks to know where to spend their time, what client’s to go after and you have focus. CASE: From the beginning Foursquare set a mission and a purpose that each employee would end of living by. This is how they decide where to invest their resources. This is how they make business decisions day in and day out. Their mission was essentially to make people’s lives easier in a fun and entertaining way. The app enhances the way you experience the real world using game mechanics. They have opened their API and allowed other apps to take their mechanics and use them – Instagram, Zagat, Foodily. Get Gloo – real world experiences (book, tv shows) JOHN ST: Unignorable
  • Use data don’t just collect it: POINT: Back in the 90’s we were playing around with the internet. Clients didn’t think we could measure so didn’t ask for it. After a few years they realized that you could get measurements, really good measurements, more data than they had ever had, so we started measuring. Now comes the era where the data means something. We’re ahead of the game with our planning department. But now is the time to use the insights and create content for users that is meaningful. CASE: Foursquare was early out of the gate. They have been collecting your data for years now and in it’s newest upgrade they are using that data to benefit you. It takes the places you’ve been, the places your friend’s have been, the categories and types of places you gravitate toward, what’s popular with users, what day of the week it is and serve it up to you in a gaming format, introducing a leaderboard with your friends that restarts every week. They’ve also included an easy to use interface for business to add what kind of deals they want to offer, when, where etc. All in the palm of their hands.
  • Make people’s lives easier: POINT: Gone are the days where you launch a site that talks about your product without giving the user some utility. Users want more than pretty pictures. They want to be entertained or they want something to help them in their real lives. CASE: Microsoft’s Smart Cart allows customers to upload their grocery lists and use the cart-mounted device to scan the products as place them into the cart. A running tally of costs is shown and customers can remove items as they go. The carts use radio frequency to track the person’s shopping patterns. For example the customer has Cheerio’s on their list, when they turn down the cereal isle, a coupon can appear. As the cart evolves, they could also show comparative price checks, provide recipes, nutritional information and coordinate the payment of the groceries through their mobile phone. JOHN ST: So when you are brainstorming digital ideas – but them through that test. Are they entertaining? Or do they offer the consumer some utility.
  • Create a playbook: POINT: Brands have to engage in real time marketing. To stay relevant and keep market share, it’s not an option anymore. Similar to Football, they need a playbook. Playbooks are a predetermined set of “plays” that team members practice. They help players anticipate and understand their roles and responsibilities, the time frame for each play and the measuresof success. Then, during the game, they can respond quickly and confidently. They’ll have their overall game strategy, but they better have a lot of different “plays” on hand that they can use, depending on what’s happening in real-time. CASE: In 2003 Cadbury discontinued the Wispa (UK) because of declining sales and production issues. In 2007, through sentiment reports they were hearing rumblings of people wanting the Wispa back. Once a Bring Back Wispa group was created (keeping in mind with only 14,000 fans), they pulled out their “new product launch” play (and money) and announced they would produce 23M bars. They marketed it as Limited Editions – it wasn’t long before they sold more than 41M in 18 weeks and guess what, the bar is still selling.
  • Nothing is final: POINT: We research the hell out of our TV commercials before they air. We burn through $$ and time before these things even launch. Makes sense because you have one shot at that spot. When it comes to digital it’s important to test prior to launching. But the benefit is once you launch, you can re-test in the real world, optimize, re-launch, upgrade etc. Nothing is final anymore – especially now that your consumers have such forum’s to give their opinions. You better be listening and making changes. CASE: GapGate – Gap wanted a new logo after 20+ years because they “were changing”. With the help of their ad agency they re-designed and launched it. For the 48hrs following the launch, they got ridiculed around the world, people hated it. Although Gap said they were standing by the logo – they actually didn’t. They sent an open letter letting people know that they would be communicating rationale soon. Then they announced that they were actually crowd-sourcing, then a contest and then finally that they were going back to the old logo. It wasn’t authentic. They could have used this press and turned it into a positive. When Starbucks launched their logo, did they have as much back-lash? No. Why, because they had a community of My Starbucks Ideas peeps base for input and feedback prior to the official launch. With the launch they explained why they were changing it, the rationale behind it. This is the 4 th time they have done it and there was no Bucks Gate. JOHN ST: My caution in this scenario is that we tend to forget to test digital or don’t think it’s necessary prior to pushing live. User testing is
  • Influencers (good or bad) care: POINT: The number of fans and followers you have are only part of the equation. What’s more important is if you have influencers within that group. You want them, good or bad. The good ones you can use as brand advocates – they are your “best friend”, treat them like one. The bad one’s – they are just as important because here is where you gain free insights, research. what’s even more important – your competitors influencers. Engage them, watch what they are doing. CASE: Do you know Chris Brogan? He consults with Fortune 100 & 500 companies on business communications and social software/technology. He wrote Trust Agents and writes for Entrepreneur Magazine. He has almost 200,000 followers on Twitter and has sent 83,000 tweets. He has 10,000 + fans on Facebook. You get the picture. He’s an influencer. When he arrived in Austin for SXSW, he was pissed. Delta had lost his luggage. A quick note – Delta Airlines was named the most effective domestic airline brand online in 2010. Less than 30minutes after Chris’ post – he posted a new tweet along the lines, “ my fault – I’m a preferred flyer with Delta and part of their service is to deliver my luggage to the hotel for me. Thanks to so and so for reaching out and letting me know”. Delta has an online strategy for customer service. They know that rectifying someone with 200,000 followers is more important than someone with 2. Sorry, but it’s true. JOHN ST: SWIX – you can add competitor data. When you see a spike in their graphs. Go to their site, see what they are doing, what their customers are doing.
  • What I learned at SXSW 2011

    1. 1. What I learned at SXSW
    2. 2. Nerds are cooler than I thought.
    3. 3. Well, except for this one. Google’s 80’s themed party
    4. 4. There are a lot of them. 6 th Street Austin, Texas during SXSW
    5. 5. So these were a necessity. Twitter Beluga SXSW Foursquare
    6. 6. Or else this would happen. We were at Iron Works, not Iron Cactus (where everyone else was)
    7. 7. Outlets were a hot commodity.
    8. 8. And so was Shiner Bock. We found out after we got back it was only 3.4%, which explains a lot
    9. 9. They stalk nerd-celebs. Faris Yakob: @faris chief innovation officer, MDC Partners Edward Boches: @edwardboches chief innovation officer, Mullen
    10. 10. Learn from panel discussions like this. www.fuckedinparkslope.com
    11. 11. And this. www.youtube.com/user/JibJab
    12. 12. And know that getting “sheenfaced” is just as important. Weiden Kennedy Party
    13. 13. We didn’t win – but we learned. Lots. Interactive Awards followed by Foo Fighters after-party
    14. 14. Three key themes <ul><li>1. Don’t sleep with them and leave ‘em </li></ul><ul><li>2. Dennis Crawley is really smart (but not really rich) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Real time marketing – duh?! </li></ul>
    15. 15. Don’t sleep with them and leave ‘em <ul><li>1. Don’t use your fans </li></ul><ul><li>2. Be a person not a brand </li></ul><ul><li>3. Customer Service is not marketing </li></ul>
    16. 16. Don’t use your fans
    17. 17. Be a person not a brand
    18. 18. Customer service is not marketing
    19. 19. Dennis Crawley is really smart (but not really rich) <ul><li>1. Set a mission and live by it </li></ul><ul><li>2. Use data don’t just collect it </li></ul><ul><li>3. Make people’s lives easier </li></ul>
    20. 20. Set a mission and live by it
    21. 21. Use data don’t just collect it v.s. http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/foursquare-ceo-dennis-crowley-facebook-places-could-struggle/19603456 /
    22. 22. Make people’s lives easier
    23. 23. Real time marketing – duh?! <ul><li>Create a playbook </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing is final </li></ul><ul><li>Influencers (good or bad) care </li></ul>
    24. 24. Create a playbook
    25. 25. Nothing is final Siegal & Gale’s office window which happens to be across from Gap Inc.’s office
    26. 26. Influencers (good or bad) care

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