Recently, four eROI team members traveled to Austin to experience the SXSW Interactive 2017. Focusing on state-of-the-art products across email, mobile, social, web, marketing automation, data, analytics, and more, SXSW celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.
Here are their thoughts:
Senior Visual Designer
My interest in attending SXSW 2017 Interactive looked a lot like when I decided to attend Burning Man in 2005: it was something I always wanted to do, there were a lot of people I knew who were also attending, and I had no real expectations going into it. This helped me have a great, varied experience; everything from seeing an amazing film panel with Michael Fassbender, Terrence Malick and Richard Linklater, to a panel discussing the future role of natural language and conversational computing in product design.
I enjoyed all of the sessions I went to, but the one that resonated most with me was the session Innovation in Cuba: The Rise of Azúcar Valley. Mara Abrams (Incúbate + Census Labs); Marcelino Alvarez (Uncorked Studios); and Nick Parish (Contagious) presented Fringe Diplomacy—an initiative which ‘explores the space just beyond the boundaries of states’ and governments’ capacity and authority in international relations.’ Through workshops, Fringe Diplomacy supports the needs and challenges of Cuban startups.
Senior Digital Strategist
“With young kids, it’s not that they live in two different worlds, they are living with a digital side that strengthens it and augments it. There’s not a real world AND a digital world, the two are married together,” said Bishop Tighe. He reminded us all that digital language is conversational. Even one of the world’s oldest institutions understands the need to evolve their approach to communication—kindly reminder to us all that we need to meet our users where they’re at and complement their evolution of shared communications.
Senior Digital Strategist
There are several things that I am constantly preaching to our partners and to my colleagues—one of which is the importance of creating an emotional connection between brand and consumer. It makes sense, right? Creating emotion allows the consumer to feel something about your brand, in turn creating memories and fostering brand loyalty (see my blog posts on this very topic here and here).
The talk I attended at SXSW that stood out the most to me was: This is your Brain, This is Your Brain on Ads. In it, Aaron Reid from Sentient Decision Science (SDS) walked us through the study of capturing moment by moment insights on how consumers emotionally react to ads. Reid shared the results from a 3-year study he led that tracked how consumer brainwaves are psychologically affected by ads. For example, during a recent Anheuser Busch SuperBowl spot, SDS tracked how a consumer’s brains reacted both positively and negatively to watching the ad. While the beginning of the ad caused negative emotion in consumers, the end of the ad left them feeling very positive; it is at the highest point of positivity that Busch’s branding appears (Smart, huh?). This study proved that tapping into human emotion significantly increases brand loyalty.
For me, SXSW was very eye opening. I learned about new technical innovations, heard from a lot of creative, smart people that are shaping the digital landscape every day and ate A TON of TACOS. All and all, SXSW was pretty AWESOME.
A few points from various talks that stuck with me:
10 Ways to Influence Impact Through Story Innovation
Noor Tagouri is already highly-accomplished for a 23-year old. Currently working for Newsy on a documentary series called “A Woman’s Job”, Tagouri has traveled the U.S., interviewing women dominating traditionally male industries. Her work is a healthy reminder to have a curious, open mind by putting oneself in the consumer’s shoes and constantly exploring their journey.
This is Your Brain, This Is Your Brain on Ads
Dr. Manuel Garcia-Garcia noted only 38% of Brand Campaigns use creative customized to a particular platform. Although it isn’t abnormal for brands to think they can make one type of creative and slap it across all the various platforms, consumers notice when brands cut corners. As I reiterate to our partners, Garcia-Garcia reminds us that email should be an extension of the spirit of a brand campaign, yet stand strong on its own.