Gravity Thinking SXSW Overview

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    08-May-2015

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<ul><li>1.A REVIEW OF SXSW 2012 </li></ul> <p>2. LastmonthGravityThinkingwere invitedaspartofaUKTImissionto a:endSXSWInterac?vetheannual geekpilgrimagetoAus?nTexaswhere wordslikeecosystem,transmedia, Hack?vismandcura?onareused unashamedlyineverybar,demo, presenta?onandpanelthisisour takeonthemadnessofAus?n INTRODUCTION From originally being a film and music festival SXSW Interactive has outgrown both with over 25k attendees this year it seems the geeks are the new rock and film stars. For us no one overriding technology or platform broke through but rather a patchwork of ideas, messages and concepts that we have curated into 7 themes that we thought everyone should consider in 2012 and beyond (or at least until SXSW 2013) The event attracts an enticing mix of people from strategists to scientists, philosophers to VC, music legends to Vice Presidents and journalists to developers, SXSW is certainly a veritable smorgasbord of religions. It is this melting pot that what brings all the digerati to Austins yard - it the biggest festival of its kind in the World and THE place to launch a new platform, trend or immersive technology just ask Twitter and Foursquare . The variety and vastness hit me after only an hour, I felt about SXSW the same way that a consumer probably feels about social media - cool, hectic, unsettling, inspiring, scary, social all at once ! SOCIAL SERENDIPITY One of the biggest pre-event hot topics was SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile), in essence Minority Report for your mobile. As Amber Case, a social anthropologist who was launching GeoLoqi at Austin, pointed out in her keynote - everyones technology has become extension of them, and whether they realize it or not, they are in a symbiotic relationship with their devices. Her assertion that "the best technology is invisible and just gets out of your way to let you live your life. was spot on and something that every developer of new apps and brands considering social campaigns needs to consider carefully. This development of frictionless sharing of data has been gleaned from a mix of app usage, local search results, social streams and location integrated with mobile and has given rise to apps such as Highlight, Glancee, Banjo, Sonar and Uberlife all of which were in attendance in Austin. 3. SOCIAL FOR GOOD Interestingly I tried these and ended up finding and meeting up with 5 different contacts from London I hadnt seen for a year or so so I guess it works albeit in a confined highly relevant location success has been less prolific since being back in London unless you count the other 8.7m who also like Nike ! One panel did focus on one of the most important barriers to development of this trend raising the thorny issue of privacy. SoLoMo Redefined: Next Gen Social Local Mobile argued that with data libertarianism at the heart of these apps there is a clear joint responsibility between users and companies to ensure full disclosure and complete understanding - after all do you really want everyone to know where you are and what you are up to all the time ? One app in particular, Highlight, was probably the most discussed due to its ability to match anyone to yourself using their social profile on the face of it this is great but the reality is that if you like fairly mainstream FB pages then everyone is your match! Social media and emergent technologies have given us new forms of power as citizens, consumers, and cultural creators and a big part of SXSW was focused on how this can be amplified and developed for a greater social benefit indeed there was even a whole subject area devoted to Better Tomorrow The social sharing element of the web has presented huge opportunities for organisations and brands to develop new business models built around a strategic Specific reference was given to the opportunities for using tech and social to do good within sectors such as healthcare, education and finance The key take out seemed to be sustainability and transparency sustainable in terms of long term commercial viability and transparent in terms of commitment and it being rooted in the strategic direction of the organisation something that Al Gore and Sean Parker discussed at length (more on this later). purpose focused on doing good and ensuring that it is inextricably linked to their corporate strategy. Across the various talks at the festival Unilever, IBM, Nike and Google were referenced for creating win win economic value for the company and society as one session named it - Dont just sell things. Change the World 4. BIG SEXY DATA Its official! the nerd in the corner that was previously overlooked and under appreciated is now everyones new best friend after years of being ignored Big data is now sexy Given the creative nature of the festival this data love in appears to be counter intuitive however as data is at the core of social from checking in, to status updates to running routes to social commerce and web searches - it is understandable and hugely encouraging how many Big data sessions there were over the 5 days. The sessions addressed the subject of big data from a number of different angles - from the importance of data in the development of the cutting edge social solutions based on matching data such as Highlight and Glancee, to the ambitions of big companies such as Pepsico to capture as much data as possible about their consumers to develop a single customer view and relevant Social CRM. No sound conclusions were drawn except that data will continue to be at the centre of social debates for a while yet However there was one big watch out that was discussed repeatedly, namely that consumers are struggling to manage a multitude of online profiles from Facebook and Twitter to Foursquare and LinkedIn, let alone the rapid proliferation of apps as evidenced by the plethora of new offerings at this years SXSW - Push Fatigue may soon be the next diagnosable condition. Dave Morin of Path focused on this wider view in the session entitled "why happiness is the new currency which showed how beneficial it is for brands to tap into general positivity via the most warm channel mobile. LIFE LESSONS Amongst all the chat about new developments in social it was good to also see a focus away from what Hugh Forrest, the Event Director, called "start-up mania" to more personally focused parts of the event and an emphasis on self development and fulfillment. 5. BEFRIENDING GEEKS SXWW even found a app for that in Happstr, developed during a mobile hackathon called the The Start Up Bus en route to SXSW where users mark the place where they are happy. The concept of achieving happiness overflowed into the business World in a fascinating talk from Reid Hoffman (founder of Paypal, Linked In and a prominent Facebook, Zynga and he is still 44!) who encouraged us to adopt a beta mindset and follow his 3 pieces of advice Plan to adapt (using an A,B,Z plan), Strengthen your network and Take Intelligent risks. Most importantly perhaps his biggest piece of advice was Learn to fail, learn from it and move on quicklyand enjoy the journey This view was echoed by Biz Stone, one of the founders of Twitter, who used his keynote to reflect on his experience over the course of his entrepreneurial career and in particular the need to fully commit to any startup rather than taking on consulting jobs in order to pay their way, as he put it "To succeed spectacularly you need to be ready to fail spectacularly Nike took a huge presence at the show with giant screens and an athletic park but more interestingly ran a hackathon opening up the API of their new Fuelband to third- party developers giving them the opportunity of infusing the features of NikeFuel into their respective apps or platforms we await the results with great anticipation. It was also interesting to see a Google and Lego sponsored a Hackathon at the Google Developers House which challenged developers to build a Lego Mindstorm robot to navigate an obstacle course that was built during the hackathon so the contestants had to design toward a moving target. Perhaps the most audacious play at befriending geeks was the free Jay Z concert we attended on Sunday night highlighting Amexs new Twitter based discount service minimally branded but perfectly judged it drew the most tweets and discussions of the whole 5 days. The aforementioned melting pot of attendees at SXSW was best characterised by the different types of brand activity at SXSW- from hackathons, sponsored concerts, pop up restaurants and free rides to phone charging stations and bike rentals, brands spent the whole festival trying to get a piece of the action and attention. The brands that succeeded were those that integrated themselves and embraced the spirit of SXSW - 6. POWER OF INFLUENCE Sessions such as Influencers will inherit the Earth. Quick market them showed the growing importance of online influence and the power of amplification which became a consistent theme of the festival however a lot of the conversation focused on influence versus popularity. One man Gary Vaynerchuk showed us the power of both influence and popularity when he announced a secret wine party at midnight on Saturday resulting in a queue of over 500 within 10 minutes ! A lot of the debate centred around the quantitative way that companies such as Klout and PeerIndex measure influence and that this does not take into account context and passion but as Joe Fernandez of Klout pointed out they are trying to understand peoples influence at a topic level and reduce the measurement of chit chat. So the lesson here is in essence - Dont count the people you reach focus on reaching the people who count. With over 70% of todays core TV audience going online whilst they are watching, and a large number using 3 screens, the blurring of the internet and real World is encroaching upon us all making Social viewing an increasingly important consideration for every advertiser. SOCIAL BROADCAST Broadcasters were in Austin in force from CNNs and Fast Companys Grill to Turner Broadcastings overall sponsorship and BBCs keynote session it seems that Social TV is here to stay. Indeed some argued that times are changing and the social tail is now going to wag the broadcast dog with social leading the way in programming and advertising development. The focus for this development was not only on the platforms and technology fueling this, but also the fact that this necessitated a transmedia approach to storytelling whether that be for a scripted drama, a reality TV series or even live Sports coverage. This is an area that we think will only go in one direction as the need for content develops and the demand for disruption and engagement becomes more and more tricky. 7. CONTACT It seems TV is not something that you watch anymore it is a experience you live as Nisha Chittal, social media manager at the Travel Channel put it: Social media for TV has gone far beyond a like on Facebook or follow on Twitter its about empowering viewers to participate in programs they love in an organic and authentic way SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN ? Gravity Thinking Limited, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com If you would like to get in touch to discuss any of the themes of this article or how you can achieve World Class social media for your company or brand then please contact; Andrew Roberts, Managing Partner E andrew@gravitythinking.com T 020 7654 7693 M 07775 612 853 Alternatively if you would like to access more information, news and comment on social media you can; Like facebook.com/gravitymarketing Follow twitter.com/gravitythinking Connect linkedin.com/in/andrewroberts See gravitythinking.com I think Jeremiah Owyang best summed up the event as A petri dish of social and interactive behaviours, a bellwether of what could be a trend for the year. It also has.overhype, fanboyism and an overinflated view of behaviors so whilst nothing swept the show, the sheer number of tools, ideas and trends showed that the Geeks are certainly taking over the World and brands can do a lot worse than listen, learn and follow ! </p>