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The Hits and Misses of SXSW

The Hits and Misses of SXSW

Sofie Guariglia

Sofie Guariglia

March 19, 2018

Socialyse’s Sofie Guariglia on the inspiring and not-so-inspiring moments at this year’s festival.

"It’s always a feel-good experience to hear from people doing good in the world!"

It’s been a busy week for marketers attending this year’s SXSWi festival. Socialyse Social Media Specialist Sofie Guariglia breaks through the clutter to highlight what worked and what didn’t this year.

 

HITS

Empowering Women, with Audrey Gelman

Audrey Gelman, founder of co-working space The Wing, may have delivered my favorite session of SXSWi 2018. Gelman founded The Wing to create a safe space for women to network, start businesses, and, most important, support one another. The Wing established a space for women to rally during the Women’s March and, through its membership and educational programs, continues to nurture women in business so they can flourish. Gelman said, “The most boring rooms are when everyone does the same thing,” and this session was exactly the opposite—a group of diverse women leaning into supporting one another by creating a community.

Boss Women of Instagram

I realized everything I knew was a lie when Eva Chen, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, informed the audience that “the [Instagram] grid” doesn’t matter. Raise your hand if you’ve spent any time obsessing over the look of your profile grid 👋. The Boss Women of Instagram panel was an interactive session, with the heads of partnerships on the platform, where we were given the real deal on how to drive strong engagement, how frequently your brand should post, and myths of the platform (like how having a pretty grid doesn’t necessarily ensure top engagement—who knew?). The session was informative, fun, and a highlight of my trip to Austin.

Storytelling Using Instagram

I trekked over to Facebook HQ to hear the social directors at Whole Foods and Bumble talk about the stories they’ve built for their brands on the Instagram platform. The best part about the session was hearing firsthand how important it is to find a unique voice for your brand—and how it isn’t always easy to get there! Whole Foods currently focuses on user-generated content and the social community in its Instagram strategy, whereas Bumble likes to approach social in a funny, lighthearted way, encouraging women to make the first dating move. Again, it was so great to hear from more empowered women in business!

Doing Good and Building Community

As a millennial in the current political climate, I truly believe brands should do their part to be as socially responsible as possible. I also know the consumers with future purchasing power (such as Gen Z-ers) only want to support brands they believe in. In one session Karlie Kloss, founder of nonprofit Kode With Klossy, and Eric Liedtke, Chief Marketing Officer at Adidas, discussed the importance of doing your part as a brand. Kloss started Kode With Klossy to encourage young girls and women to learn how to code and to eventually drive gender equality in the STEM workforce. Liedtke discussed how Adidas has tackled the problem of waste and the environment by designing sneakers made from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean. It’s always a feel-good experience to hear from people doing good in the world!

Honorable Mentions: Taking a selfie with Eva Chen, who was lovely. Also, spending time with kick-ass Havas ambassadors from different offices. 😎

"Overall, I felt like SXSWi 2018 didn’t blow my mind with its innovation at least not from a marketing and social media perspective."

MISSES

Using Data for Viral Moments

As a social media specialist, I was really excited about this session. All social strategists are looking for the secret sauce that will help their clients’ content go viral, and unfortunately this wasn’t that session. Instead of focusing on a unique and innovative approach to creating snackable social moments, this panel harped on basic social metrics, such as engagement vs. lower-funnel metrics like ROI. Overall, fell kinda flat for me.

AR Overload

AR was undoubtedly a huge focus for SXSWi. Personally, I thought it was a bit too much. In a session I attended with rapper Young Guru, he asked why we’re investing all this money and AR resources in self-driving cars, when we could be using them [AR and AI] to solve world poverty and hunger? He makes a good point.

Innovation Conversation as a Whole

Overall, I felt like SXSWi 2018 didn’t blow my mind with its innovation at least not from a marketing and social media perspective. A lot of the sessions and conversations covered topics and ideas that we already preach at Havas, which, if anything, was reinforcement that we’re on the right track with our recommendations to clients! I attended some really awesome sessions throughout the week, but was a little underwhelmed by the innovation in the media industry as a whole.

"It’s always a feel-good experience to hear from people doing good in the world!"

It’s been a busy week for marketers attending this year’s SXSWi festival. Socialyse Social Media Specialist Sofie Guariglia breaks through the clutter to highlight what worked and what didn’t this year.

 

HITS

Empowering Women, with Audrey Gelman

Audrey Gelman, founder of co-working space The Wing, may have delivered my favorite session of SXSWi 2018. Gelman founded The Wing to create a safe space for women to network, start businesses, and, most important, support one another. The Wing established a space for women to rally during the Women’s March and, through its membership and educational programs, continues to nurture women in business so they can flourish. Gelman said, “The most boring rooms are when everyone does the same thing,” and this session was exactly the opposite—a group of diverse women leaning into supporting one another by creating a community.

Boss Women of Instagram

I realized everything I knew was a lie when Eva Chen, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, informed the audience that “the [Instagram] grid” doesn’t matter. Raise your hand if you’ve spent any time obsessing over the look of your profile grid 👋. The Boss Women of Instagram panel was an interactive session, with the heads of partnerships on the platform, where we were given the real deal on how to drive strong engagement, how frequently your brand should post, and myths of the platform (like how having a pretty grid doesn’t necessarily ensure top engagement—who knew?). The session was informative, fun, and a highlight of my trip to Austin.

Storytelling Using Instagram

I trekked over to Facebook HQ to hear the social directors at Whole Foods and Bumble talk about the stories they’ve built for their brands on the Instagram platform. The best part about the session was hearing firsthand how important it is to find a unique voice for your brand—and how it isn’t always easy to get there! Whole Foods currently focuses on user-generated content and the social community in its Instagram strategy, whereas Bumble likes to approach social in a funny, lighthearted way, encouraging women to make the first dating move. Again, it was so great to hear from more empowered women in business!

Doing Good and Building Community

As a millennial in the current political climate, I truly believe brands should do their part to be as socially responsible as possible. I also know the consumers with future purchasing power (such as Gen Z-ers) only want to support brands they believe in. In one session Karlie Kloss, founder of nonprofit Kode With Klossy, and Eric Liedtke, Chief Marketing Officer at Adidas, discussed the importance of doing your part as a brand. Kloss started Kode With Klossy to encourage young girls and women to learn how to code and to eventually drive gender equality in the STEM workforce. Liedtke discussed how Adidas has tackled the problem of waste and the environment by designing sneakers made from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean. It’s always a feel-good experience to hear from people doing good in the world!

Honorable Mentions: Taking a selfie with Eva Chen, who was lovely. Also, spending time with kick-ass Havas ambassadors from different offices. 😎

"Overall, I felt like SXSWi 2018 didn’t blow my mind with its innovation at least not from a marketing and social media perspective."

MISSES

Using Data for Viral Moments

As a social media specialist, I was really excited about this session. All social strategists are looking for the secret sauce that will help their clients’ content go viral, and unfortunately this wasn’t that session. Instead of focusing on a unique and innovative approach to creating snackable social moments, this panel harped on basic social metrics, such as engagement vs. lower-funnel metrics like ROI. Overall, fell kinda flat for me.

AR Overload

AR was undoubtedly a huge focus for SXSWi. Personally, I thought it was a bit too much. In a session I attended with rapper Young Guru, he asked why we’re investing all this money and AR resources in self-driving cars, when we could be using them [AR and AI] to solve world poverty and hunger? He makes a good point.

Innovation Conversation as a Whole

Overall, I felt like SXSWi 2018 didn’t blow my mind with its innovation at least not from a marketing and social media perspective. A lot of the sessions and conversations covered topics and ideas that we already preach at Havas, which, if anything, was reinforcement that we’re on the right track with our recommendations to clients! I attended some really awesome sessions throughout the week, but was a little underwhelmed by the innovation in the media industry as a whole.

Sofie Guariglia is a Boston University grad on the Socialyse team. She is a pizza bagel (Jewish and Italian!) and an avid believer in astrology.

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