Alexis’ Take, Day 3…
Today I’ve started to notice a pattern. I either love a session or leave feeling disappointed because it either had nothing to do with the description or the rhetoric got in the way of meaningful content. You here the words “influencer,” “transparency,” “authentic” and “engaged” a LOT by the third day. I am not alone in this, which helps me feel like it isn’t just me picked bad panels. Overall Sunday was a major success.
How important it is to cultivate your customer/supporter base early on in social media so that when you need them (read: it’s crisis mode time) they are already there, dedicated and ready to jump into the trenches in your defense. This was the key overarching theme in the “Stand with Planned Parenthood: A Crisis Response” panel that kicked off my day. I also identified with how hard it can be to get a response – any response – out into the public while you are working to craft the “perfect” message. Getting out first, with something, is critical to controlling the situation.
Visual storytelling is exceptionally powerful. I already knew that. But what really knocked my socks off at “Mother Goose Got Punked: Next Gen Visual Stories” was how much we forget about a cohesive and comprehensive distribution strategy for the video content we create. One of the best tips was to pick an official launch day for your video, push the heck out of it on owned media, earned media, email, etc., and then also hold a lunchtime viewing for your employees to build additional groundswell from the inside. So basic, but I know first hand how easily overlooked this is.
Also, pulled from the aforementioned Mother Goose session, Photo Philanthropy looks like an amazing organization. The mission is to “promote and connect photographers with non-profit organizations around the world to tell the stories that drive action for social change.” The visuals shown as the Power Point presentation were powerful and it made me think about all of the visual stories we are not currently telling for our clients—I hope to be able to do more in the year ahead.
Jim’s Take, Day 3…
There is just so much going on at SXSW that you’ll never be able to see it all. That said, you also never know what you’re going to stumble upon if you decide to change up your schedule a bit…like taking a breather in the Samsung Blogger Lounge and finding yourself watching a live intimate conversation with the CEOs of FourSquare and Zappos. Here are my learnings and takeaways from Day #3.
The 11:00 session I planned on attending was full, so I ventured into How Brain Science Turns Browsers Into Buyers, which was infinitely more interesting than it sounds. The general population reads wider-format text more efficiently, but they prefer narrow-columned text. Similarly, we prefer easy-to-read text, but we’re 14% more likely to remember content in a non-fluent font. Derek Halpern outlined how he utilizes narrow columns with short sentences to draw readers in to his content, and then non-fluent fonts for pullout quotes and sound bites – encouraging both increased readership and social sharing of key sound bites. I feel like I earned an honorary degree in content neurology.
I have a new favorite ROI guru is Jen Van Der Veen based on her session, Brands: The Cost of Being Human. She discussed how companies and brands get so caught up in statistics and ROI numbers that they lose sight of the effectiveness of being human, and connecting with customers on a more personal level. The top 50 brands in the world all have fundamental human traits that connect with their audiences. There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of those connections, but being “human” is an organizational decision, not a means to an end. In other words, be authentic, measure accordingly.
Its not every day you get to hear FourSquare’s CEO Dennis Crowley and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh in a fireside chat format, but that’s what Alexis and I found ourselves doing in the blogger lounge late Sunday afternoon. From hearing their biggest mistakes (FourSquare: biting off more than they can chew, Zappos: bad employee hires) to hearing about Hsieh’s Downtown Project, which is focusing on connecting Zappos with the existing hometown Las Vegas community rather than building a brand new corporate campus…it was a unique and fruitful interview to sit in on, to say the least.
~ Alexis Anderson and Jim Licko