SXSW Interactive 2013 Recap


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I recently attended SXSW In Austin and have put together the attached recap to share with you. There was a lot to take away and a lot written about SXSW – it was my 7th year so I’ve seen it grow from a digitally-focused conference to a full-fledged festival where tech innovation can often take a backseat to marketers and big brands spending big money to get noticed. Through it all, it’s still a great place to learn, meet industry people and connect or reconnect with professional contacts.

Key takeaways include:
• Top trends
• Key learnings
• Trending topics
• Social media trends
• What’s on our radar
• Beauty & fashion brands at SXSW

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SXSW Interactive 2013 Recap

  1. 1. SXSW Interactive 2013 Recap & Key LearningsOverviewThe 20th annual SXSW Interactive (#SXSWi) Festival took place March 8-12, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Anincubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the event features five days of compellingpresentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hostedby industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, videogames and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of thefuture, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world oftechnology.Members from our Digital Marketing team attended and below are ourtop takeaways from thisyear’s festival.Top Trends and Key LearningsBest Branding Onsite Samsung – Samsung sponsored the official SXSWiTechSet Blogger Lounge inside the Convention Center, which included influential industry talks throughout the day, people coming in and out to charge their stations and connect with their networks, as well as the chance to win free product with a product display in the lounge. Outside of the Convention Center, Samsung had street teams passing out collateral, held private events, sponsored industry events and separate event spaces that ran concurrent throughout the festival. The brand also hired influencers to promote their devices. Chevy – As the official transportation sponsor of SXSWi, Chevrolet provided free cab rides around Austin for festival attendees. SXSW attendees could tweet @Chevrolet using the hashtag #ChevySXSW and the car service would pick up and take them to their final destination. Drivers were also trained to talk about the vehicles during the ride. The brand also implemented Drive a Chevy allowing attendees to test drive a variety of Chevrolet cars through downtown Austin. Chevrolet also sponsored events, like #AllHat5, where leaders in the industry gathered to discuss trends and topics.Trending Topics at SXSWi Throughout SXSWi, Mashable welcomed attendees to meet and greet internet meme Grumpy Cat at the Mashable House, encouraging tweets, Instagrams, Vines and Facebook pictures The marrying of celebrities and technology was apparent at this year’s SXSWi with celebrities like Shaquille O’Neill, Ashton Kutcher and Joseph Gordon-Levitt attending events and talks Tech startups, such as Yappem, NowThisNews and UMe Time, had a prominent presence with thousands of emerging businesses leveraging SXSWi as a networking, relationship building and new business opportunity Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is an evolving trend in 2013. M-commerce makes the user experience faster and easier for consumers to purchase.
  2. 2. Overarching themes from this year’s SXSWi, as discussed by several keynote speakers like MSNBC’S Rachel Maddow, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk and The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman, include: o Social media is now a normalcy in our society, so take advantage by spreading word of mouth, brand awareness and consumer/fan loyalty o Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and stand up for what you believe in; join the discussion online to educate yourself and others o Do what makes you happy and find passion in your workSocial Media Trends Visual and viral content is on the rise with emerging platforms like Vine and Vyclone Over-connecting through social media, social apps and smart phones is transforming the way we relate to one another, causing distractions and stress Instead of changes in technology fueling new social platforms, social connections are driving the growth of technology. This year was the year of the indie company gaining traction quickly through crowdfunding, driven by social finally operating at scale (via Our Radar Converging and storing big data is becoming essential, providing opportunity for many startups like Cloudera Gadgets/Hardware becoming more accessible (Microsoft Kinnect, Samsung TecTiles, Google shoes, Google Glass and Leap Motion) 3D finally coming to the masses (printers, scanners, replicas, etc.)Beauty and Fashion at SXSWi Marie Claire held the #ViralStyle panel with Creative Director Nina Garcia and founder & CEO of Zuckerberg Media Randi Zuckerberg discussing how social media has upended the traditional fashion industry. Key takeaways include: o Social media allows the visual, emotional and inspirational effectiveness of fashion o E-tail is the future of fashion and social media o Without e-commerce, brands are struggling to gain profit o Pinterest is the top site for fashion and growing e-tail space Overall, there was limited beauty/fashion engagement at this year’s SXSWi Paul Mitchell provided a curling iron bar at the Forbes 30 Under 30 party (private event – 200 people) Neiman Marcus partnered with StyleCaster Media Group providing blowouts, makeup applications and manicures (one day only)