Elise Erwin of Bastion Collective's PR & Communications division Bastion Effect shares her learnings from SXSW 2017
Yeehah, it’s now 15 days post South by Southwest and I’m pleased to say my belongings no longer carry the scent of Texan BBQ. Fortunately for me, and the greater good of knowledge sharing, some things have stuck from my trip to Austin, which I’ve snapshotted for you below.
Throughout, I heard from the full gamut of impressive beings – the big brands like Nike, Facebook and Dunkin Donuts, as well as software developers, autonomous electric car companies, entrepreneurial successful stories and my SXSW highlight; neuro, behavioural and social scientists. As you can imagine the content was diverse in nature, however, there is one thing they all understand very, very well - how to capture the attention of millions of people. It sounds simple, but it’s not.
Listening to Gary Vee, a hugely successful entrepreneur and social influencer with zilch marketing qualifications, certainly made me question whether we, at times, get lost in a false sense of marketing reality, driven by skewed audience figures and creative concepts that excite the socks off us. Gary speaks of being in the business of attention and takes a refreshingly simple approach to marketing. His secret weapon to successful business ventures is listening – something he believes most brands do very badly. In between profanities, he encouraged the audience to listen and then give, be patient, pay attention and not to be scared to take a risk at becoming relevant to your audience, importantly on their terms.
While most of Gary’s Q&A session was hijacked by self-promoting start-ups looking to gain exposure in-front of the 72,000 professionals in attendance, the message was delivered loud and clear. Challenge your thinking – are we truly capturing the attention and adding value to consumers or are we just going through the motions of ticking boxes and appeasing reporting lines?
According to US studies, 40% of us wake up and check our iMessage app prior to opening any other social app on our phones. It’s our daily ritual. For brands everywhere, this is a huge opportunity to deliver and serve content in a somewhat diluted space. SXSW 2017 presented “iMessage: The New Marketing Gold Mine” with some of the biggest thought-leaders in the iMessage space on the panel; Kelly McCarthy (Senior Director of Global Marketing at Nike), Nick Dunham (Director of Media at Dunkin’ Donuts) and Amanda Moore (Senior Director Social and Digital Marketing at Marriott). Exploring the iMessage and Bot space for our clients is crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage so I was very interested in what the panel had to say.
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