GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

Jim’s take, Day 2:

I’m amazed at the variety of SXSW sessions, and had several conversations with people about this today: a few are amazingly basic, others push the limits of what we already know, some are targeted toward tech professionals rife with acronyms, and still others have nothing to do with what we do for a living and yet they’re some of the most memorable. Today was no exception:

  • You can’t swing an iPad-filled backpack without bumping into Pinterest. In Texas State University professor Dara Quackenbush’s talk about the legal issues surrounding social media, she touched on the talk surrounding copyright issues related to Pinterest. Long story short, Pinterest tells its users to be sure to link back to the original source of the content to avoid any copyright infringement issues. Make sure you’re not claiming someone else’s content as your own, even if you didn’t mean to.
  • Jacob Young from Wired Magazine and Chris Reynolds from Conde Nast presented on the topic of analytics’ role in driving editorial content for publications – in other words, how often clicks, views, and time spent on stories of a certain topic drive the coverage of that same topic. Ultimately, this is a huge grey area. Media outlets today keep a close eye on the content their consumers want…which means what we like to read or watch can often dictate what journalists are covering to offer better results to their advertisers. What is better, what we “like” to read about, or what we need to know about?
  • If you’re a client or a GFM team member, you’ll probably hear me talk a lot about this a little too much in the coming weeks/months: being authentic, understanding your audience and providing them with useful content (rather than pushing a corporate message or finding a way to manipulate the Internet to get in front of customers) is the all the rage. Nearly every aspect of digital marketing is moving more and more toward what public relations professionals have always known: building relationships with customers, and ensuring that you’re authentic and transparent is paramount. Consumers are increasingly skeptical of being marketed to – talk to them, not at them.
  • Finally, keeping with one of my themes yesterday regarding attending at a digital conference but being reminded of best “offline” practices – there’s a game called Phone Tree that some people play over lunch outings, and is quite simple. Everyone piles his or her cell phones in the middle of table to form something similar to a tree. The first one who answers/grabs/picks up their phone also has to pick up the bill for the entire table. There’s something really genuine and great about being present during a meeting or lunch outing…

Alexis’ take, Day 2:

Brain overload (in a good way) is an understandable symptom of SXSW attendance. I can’t even imagine how I am going to feel by Wednesday morning when we fly back to Denver. Today’s sessions were pretty varied for me, partially because I chose a few that were out of my comfort zone and also because one session I was looking forward to was 100% full so I had to go elsewhere.

Here’s what stood out…

  • In the “Brands as Patterns” session that kicked off my second day, I was struck by a panelist comment that went something like this: “Consumers shouldn’t have to recall the entre brand story upon consumption of your product or service. They should already be living it.” As communicators we get so caught up in crafting every single word of a brand story before we get in front of our publics that we can forget or severely delay bringing the story to life for our customers.

  • According to thoughtful academic data presented in the “Big Social Media Results for Small Brands” session, very small and nonprofit businesses can read and talk about best practices for social media until they are blue in the face, but many times, based on extremely limited bandwidth and staffing resources, the organization may need to buck the trend of being 100% buttoned up strategically and do the best they can with what resources they have. Small brands also may have a greater opportunity to share moments over messages—don’t miss it.
  • “Wow” sessions probably have nothing to do with your professional reason for being at SXSW. When a brand advocate/influencer panel I wanted to attend was at full capacity, I was forced to scramble and find another nearby option. I stumbled upon “Is Social Media a Human Right?” and was captivated by the intense and emotional debate—which ranged from Facebook content policing in unstable situations like recent Middle Eastern protests to the rights of U.S. prisoners to utilize social channels and communicate outside of the prison walls. It was the most provocative panel I’ve attended thus far and I truly enjoyed being pushed to think beyond my clients who use social media, and reflect upon the communications opportunities social mediums can provide for people with a repressed voice.

~ Jim Licko and Alexis Anderson

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