The Monday sessions we attended ran the gamut from publishing and mobile technology to agency management and corporate culture. One of the things we love most about SXSW is the varied programming that is nearly all relevant to our every day work. We heard from The New York Times and Forbes Magazine, along with representatives from Sound Hound and Ogilvy – all while Meerkat’ing Ramonna and Laura’s presentation…it was a busy day! Here are our best quips from Monday at SXSWi.
- Today’s first session was a very interesting discussion about native advertising. The panel took ad execs from The New York Times and Forbes to show two different approaches to sponsored content. Forbes signs four-month engagements with brands and then asks them to create their own content, sometimes up to 30-40 stories a month. The New York Times, on the other hand, creates one multi-medium digital experience for their brands that tells a complimentary story to a brand or product (like this excellent Netflix execution).
- The next session went further into the digital content that the Times is creating that combine long form text, video, data visualizations and audio to create rich, immersive experiences. While executions like this may seem out of reach for most brands, similar stories are attainable through trail and experimentation (not to mention some great new platforms like Medium).
- Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Laura and Ramonna’s session on workplace culture. Different from the standard panels we mostly attend and SXSWi, this conversation allowed the audience to get involved and share their own positive and negative experiences and fostered an interaction that most sessions don’t allow for.
- “Evolve or Die: The Traditional Agency Revolution” covered the changing landscape of what creative agencies need to be doing to serve their clients. It was an interesting discussion and many larger agencies are currently struggling with a bulky model that is having a hard time keeping up with new platforms, new technologies and cheaper (yet still high quality) competition. Additionally, the need for much more content (with the same budget) is straining large agency staff/resources.
- Ultimately, if you’re a brand looking to hire a creative agency, work product examples are great, but the process and knowledge of the landscape can be just as important. Marketing channels are changing so quickly that it is important to hire agencies that aren’t afraid to play with/test new technologies, and even more importantly – understand the strategy behind these new platforms and not just using them for the sake of using them.
- In “Mobile Tech and the Retail Revolution the panel discussed consumer’s changing in-store needs and wants. Particularly, I was intrigued with the conversation about the “creep factor” – how far is too far when it comes to recognizing data about customers, and then offering information accordingly? It might be helpful when you receive product information for something you’re about to purchase, but it might feel a bit creepy if they remember that you bought certain products and push specific, borderline personal information to you. How far is too far?
- Finally, in Ramonna and Laura’s “Coding Culture” presentation, one of my favorite concepts was this, “Know your employees and their personal successes and struggles. Check in with them, ask questions and show them you care. Team members will respect you more, and put in the extra effort because of you showing compassion.”
~ Jim and Jon