Well, we are officially more than half way through our SXSW journey and have wrapped up another day filled with inspiration and innovation. From national television producers and start-up founders, to a U.S. senator and experts from NASA, we sat in on a wide range of panels and picked up a ton of insight along the way.
– We started the day out with a panel of experts from the TODAY show and other national TV morning shows and they shared advice on securing national TV coverage for our clients. The key takeaway: If your client’s product, website, app, etc. is not ready for the increased interest/traffic national exposure will bring, do even send the pitches. Many brands have received national TV exposure before they were ready and it ended up hurting them more than helping.
– Oh, and we took an awesome selfie with Mario Armstrong, founder of Mario Armstrong Media and TODAY Show correspondent.
– The founder of Cheezburger, the meme-sharing website that started a revolution, shared interesting insight on the role of humor in marketing and communications today. Aside from the fact that people who laugh more live longer, humor is also the most powerful tool to get your message across to Millennials. According to Ben, brands need to embrace humor as a distribution tool to reach this group, because it is how Millennials have learned to connect with each other and it is what we like to share. No matter the topic, he says that if you can find a way to incorporate humor into your message it will go farther and reach a larger audience.
– According to the founder and CEO of Livefyre, traditional social media management and marketing is on its deathbed. We have already seen how Facebook’s new algorithm has impacted the reach of posts and, according to Jordan, unpaid, organic reach is quickly dying on Twitter, Instagram and other sites as more and more content is being shared. To combat this, brands must look to paid advertising opportunities AND incorporate owned media platforms into their strategies. Social media of the future should be used to build an audience and then drive traffic to owned properties (websites, blogs, apps, e-newsletters, etc.) where brands can control the experience. In short: brands should be dead set on converting every Twitter follower and every Facebook fan into an owned fan/follower.
– In a panel about branding and the way companies are telling their stories, we were reminded to not only focus on the products and services you have to offer, but to also focus on telling your sub-stories. Reach out to your employees (new and old) and find out what they love about the company and share that message. If you have programs that support your mission and products, do your own sub-marketing on those. Patagonia does an amazing job of focusing on their programs, mission and user stories rather than only pushing their products.
– Brands should also be investing in their “only statement” or the “drop the mic and walk away statement.” What is that one line people are always saying about you? Nordstrom’s is “you can return anything anytime.” (Drop the mic and walk away!) Put your marketing efforts behind that statement.
– In order to solve a problem, you have to understand the problem. Brands should focus less on fixing small issues and more on recognizing and defining the large, overarching problem. Once you know what is happening, you can begin to fix it. Also, don’t be afraid to admit the mistake. Key quote, “Solving a problem that might not be there, is harmless. Not solving a problem… that is there will get you eaten.”
– We were thrilled and in awe as we got the chance to listen to the CEO of Evernote speak. As y’all know, we live and breathe Evernote in this office. He spoke about the different stages of companies and how that affects your decisions. You have to be sufficiently epic in order to succeed, which means you have to make BOLD decisions (we know about that at Integr. When making decisions we tend to turn to the negatives. We have to stop doing that and make our decisions based on what will be the most awesome, even if there are bumps along the road.
– In a panel about work-life balance, we were slightly shocked at how often we are disrupted and how that affects our job and home life. We are expected to do more than we ever have before, yet we are also constantly being interrupted, which means work inevitably comes home with us. We also learned that we determine our own habits, so we have the power to change these habits. Moral of the story is we have to make time for the things that refuel and replenish us. Put the smartphone down and take time to exercise, sleep, eat, and be with friends and family. If you don’t, you will let your company kill you.
– In one of the last panels of the day, we joined the CEO of the Texas Tribune for a conversation with United States Senator (and likely, though unconfirmed, 2016 presidential hopeful) Rand Paul to discuss technology in politics; however, the conversation quickly turned to voting rights, government surveillance, national security, and Hillary Clinton’s email, naturally. Political issues aside, Rand is one of a handful of politicians to recognize the importance of using technology to engage young Americans in the political process. He understands that they aren’t getting their news from traditional media outlets; they get their news from Twitter, they’re on Snapchat, they’re at SXSW, and so is he. Should he decide to run in 2016 (expect an announcement in a few weeks), it will be interesting to see how his millennial outreach strategy plays out.
That’s all for now, folks. Tune in on Twitter to continue following our adventures throughout today and tomorrow!
– The SX kids