Our Breakdown Report of All Things SXSW Interactive 2016
BIG DATA USED IN SMART WAYSFrom 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.
1-1 MODELING MESSENGER APPSScalable 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 & ROBOTICS SPOTLIGHT 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 whats possible.
IMMERSIVE AUGMENTED & VIRTUAL REALITYMany 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 brands 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 LIVESTREAMINGMerging 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 users 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, YUMMLY
Its not easy to look at the consumers 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 thats 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 community.
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 + QUALCOMMS INVISIBLE MUSEUMMashable 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 GREETINGSAmerican 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.
SONYS INTERACTIVE TABLETOP Sonys 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 childrens 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 NETWORKS MR. ROBOT FERRIS WHEELClient 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 its fans.
CASPERS NAP STATIONThe 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 CONSUMER
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 DESIGNER, XPRIZE
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, FOUNDER, NOM
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 SENSE/AUTHOR/CONSULTANT
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.
THE COMMUNICATION LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING. AGAIN.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 TECHNOLOGIESWhen 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 consumers 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 MOBILE NATIVESThe 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 Zs media and social habits. Not sure where to start? Try tapping into your Gen Z employees. And if you need more intel, 360is Insights team is here to help.