Dispatches from SXSW part 1

Dispatches from SXSW part 1

It’s a damp start to SXSW in Austin, Texas. After about 28 hours travel (via London and Houston) I hit the convention centre early yesterday. As expected it’s pretty much the centre of geekdom on earth.

Here are 10 things I picked up from Day 1:

1: The impressive marketing guys are running small agencies and have non-traditional backgrounds (e.g. performance arts in the case of the CEO of DeepLocal). I guess they can move quicker than larger agencies. But then i’m biased on this…

2: The same guys also make a point of hiring people with more than just an ad background. “If you hire a guy that only has ads on his CV then you’ll most likely only get ads out of them.”

3: Brands as Patterns was my first panel (and an excellent one to start with). They made a good point on the frequency of contact social media requires (almost always on flow of content and responses) and the difficulty of trying to turn singular big ad ideas into ongoing activity. Sounds familiar…

4: Same panel used music mnemonics as an example of how tocreate more effective marketing strategies: find an effective riff but then find ways to vary it (again the typical ad campaign pounds the same riff over and over again with the end result boring the consumer).

5: I quote from the programme “Brands are no longer definitive. They are temporal. Brands are informed by multiple voices and exist in multiple contexts. To succeed in a more agile world, a brand needs to think less about defining a fixed identity amd more about creating coherent flexible patterns that respond to the user.”

6: Highlight is one of darling apps of the conference. It is part of a new wave of ambient social media services. It basically scans your Facebook profile and as people you share things in common move into your vicinity it makes a virtual introduction. Interesting, but being British I find the idea of introducing myself to strangers i’ve stalked on an app unappealing. Also in a conference like SXSW someone with thing in common walks past almost every minute. Not sure how I see this moving into the mainstream…

7: I’ve being using Lanyrd (and the official sxsw app) to pick sessions. Definitely a cool service for those attending or running conferences.

8: Check out the work of Deeplocal - well known for Chalkbot but they’re far from a one trick pony. Describe themselves as a post-digital agency (see point 1)

9: Also have a look at Duncan/Channon a smallish agency in San Francisco producing interesting work (and creating a great company culture… see also point 1 and 2)

10: Don’t say Cheers when you hand a bill over to Americans they assume it means all the change is a tip…

The hashtag is #sxswi if you want to be flooded with millions of tweets about the conference.