Final Reflection - 9 Key Takeaways from #SXSW 2013 -- #SXSWOgilvy
FinalReflection -9 Key Takeawaysfrom SXSW 2013 Gemma Craven Head of Social@Ogilvy New York March 2013
Just Build ItNew workshops at SXSW were an indicator of how important a technology core hasbecome in marketing - new extended workshops at the event enabled a more hands onapproach to topics such as HTML5 Mobile Apps, UX in a touch first world, prototyping ,andmore. It is no longer “why responsive design” but “why not.” The community also talked in-depth about solving problems such as getting more girls into coding.
The Year of the Thought LeaderAustin attracted a new level of thought leader to this year’s event, with the keynotesdetermining the emerging themes of the event: Elon Musk - the South African bornentrepreneur behind Space X, Tesla Motors and PayPal; Tina Roth Eisenberg, alsoknown as @swissmiss and one of the leading voices on creativity; game industryveteran Julie Uhrman, founder and CEO of OUYA and Matthew Inman, the artist andauthor behind the comedy website The Oatmeal.
Making Memes Real – Mashable HouseIt is safe to say that Grumpy Cat was a stand out winner from the event. Attendees linedup around the block for a picture with the chilled-out cat at the Mashable House. He wasaccompanied by Nyan Cat artist, Christopher Torres, who was drawing temporary tattoosof his artwork on attendees. Torres accompanied the biggest jerk on the Internet, ScumbagSteve, in photo opps and special performances at Mashable House. The popularity of thehouse with memes as superstars of the show shows the unmistakable impact of the webon popular culture today.
The End of SXSW Product Tourism?This year there really was no big app launch. We saw the same players who were out therelast year - Highlight, Lasso, Lanyard. Highlight was expected to join Twitter, Foursquare andGroupme in the line of SXSW winners, but so far has not lived up to the hype, matchingstrangers with very little in common and draining everyone’s phone batteries. Also outsideof SXSW, the app didn’t seem to have much of a use case. This “product tourism” seems to bewhat products are now fighting against when it comes to launching at the event.
Yet More Marketing-OffsIt seemed to be a battle of the bucks in terms of which brand was the winner. Which brandhad the biggest party, largest customized car or most elaborate pedicabs. SXSW this yeardid not allow onstreet activations so brands dominated the marketing conversation with bigbooths and concepts in the hallways and on the streets. SXSW regulars Chevvy and AT&Tand current social media darling Oreo were among the heavyweights of marketing in Austin.There were fewer smaller companies risking bigger bucks on social marketing schemes, andcertainly fewer of them launching real conversation-starter campaigns.
Overlap between film and interactiveA notable change this year was the overlap between the three parts of SXSW. Therewere many films being launched at the event, including James Franco’s new movie-Spring Breakers – with many movie stars and producers in the house making dealsduring interactive. The entertainment industry’s effect was in full effect - withGame of Thrones pedicabs, and the actual throne from GOT prevalent throughout.
Wearable Technology Goes BigThere were many sessions on wearable technology and how it is about to go mainstream.This move has the potential to change our relationship to technology altogether bymaking it more discreetly and smartly integrated into our lifestyle. An integratedecosystem of hardware manufacturers, software and service providers and developers,designers and fashion experts at SXSW discussed the intersection between clothing,functionality and technology being a big next area for growth.
3D Printing Continues Apace3D Printing has been on everyone’s lips for a while now, and SXSW showed how it is rapidlymaturing and enabling a wide variety of people and companies to design and createphysical products at a rapid pace. The opportunities that 3D printing offers everyone fromentrepreneurs to large corporations will be plentiful, and often economically advantageous.While many might think 3D printing isn’t a mature production technology, every in-earhearing device for the deaf or hard-of-hearing that’s made today is manufactured using 3Dprinting techniques. Many parts used in unmanned aerial vehicles, and about 90 parts usedon military F-18s are 3D printed. Watch 3D printing continue its charge into the mainstream.
What’s Next For SXSW?This year the conference scales definitely tipped from being the smaller-but-getting-larger serendipitous meet up and inspiration fest to a large-scale marketing-led event,with brands at its heart. Even South By itself has recognized that fact, with the launchof its own small spin off this year in Vegas - SXSW V2V. “Creative thinkers, entrepreneurs,investors, mentors, designers, tinkerers, believers and doers from all over the world” areinvited in August to share the inspiration that propels their ideas forward – which was theoriginal premise of the Austin event. What will that mean or us in 2014?