Monday was our final full day in Austin as SXSW 2018 finally winds down. You can see the business-folk start to filter out and the fresh faced music fans start to take over the town with energy that we all left with the weekend.
We can’t hit up SXSW without a stop at Gus’s Fried Chicken. It’s an Austin staple.
When you think about how to tell a story, you don’t usually think about numbers. But a pair of scientists who changed careers to focus on communications, Randy Olson and Jayde Lovell, are breaking narrative down into a simple equation that allows you to quantify the strength of your narratives.
Inspired by the writers of South Park
They were inspired after listening to the creators of South Park talk about how they approach their scripts. In their second draft for each episode, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a Rule of Replacing: “Every time you replace an “AND” with a “BUT” or “THEREFORE” the storytelling gets better.”
Day three at SXSW is now in the books. We ventured into another activation but didn’t have quite the same luck that we did at Westworld on day one. However, some great friends, good food and interesting sessions more than made up for it.
As marketers, one of the first and most important things that we can do for our business is to identify the audiences for our product or service. Our audiences (yes, that should always be plural) are typically defined by a combination of demographics and psychographics that help us fit a diverse selection of human beings into a few loosely constructed boxes. But with an unprecedented amount of data now available to businesses it’s time that we introduce context and circumstance into the equation.
On day two of SXSW we attended a few more sessions, which meant we took a few fewer steps. Taco breakfast, a quick lunch and (fancy) hotdogs for dinner were interspersed with celebrity sightings and tomfoolery.
Days one and two at SXSW were as fabulous and weird as ever. Two dinners, one very, very long and one wonderfully quick, a session or two (OK, just one) and a trip to the old West(world) got us immersed in everything Interactive all over again.
Pirhana Sushi delivered a fantastic meal in under 40 minutes (which was fantastic since we didn’t sit down until 9:00 p.m.).
SXSW Interactive is inherently about digital communications. How, as individuals and marketers, we use social media, smart phones and digital advertising to connect, one-to-one or one-to-many.
But the prevalence of these digital tools and our reliance on them to reach large, hopefully targeted, audiences at scale has caused brands to lose touch with the importance of creating experiences that their fans can share both online and off.
GroundFloor Media and CenterTable are once again heading down to Austin to attend the 2018 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. Beginning Friday, March 9 and continuing through Tuesday, March 13 Adrienne Schafer and I will be hitting up as many sessions, panels, brand activations, concerts, networking events and food trucks as we can possibly stomach, and reporting back here on the GFM/CenterTable blog and a variety of social platforms.
The conference has changed quite a bit since we started attending seven years ago. The days of interactive sessions following a strict marketing and social media theme are long gone, replaced with niche programming tracks like health & wellness, sports, food and fashion as well as technology-focused trends like virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence (we really are living in the future, aren’t we?). But the thread that weaves all these “interactive” subjects together still remains communication, interaction and the place where brands and individuals meet. Change was inevitable as SXSW has grown, but it’s still an experience that can’t be found anywhere else.