March 10–15: Brands & Marketing Track

The Forrest Four-Cast: March 7, 2018

Occurring at the newly-opened Fairmont Hotel from March 10–15, Brands & Marketing has become one of the most popular tracks with the March Magic community. These sessions explore the constantly evolving world and work of agencies and their clients, from applied neuroscience to conversational storytelling to data-driven creativity to reaching emerging economies. Ten of the most intriguing panels and presentations (listed in chronological order) within this six-day track for SXSW 2018 are as follows:

  1. Latinas Removing Barriers in Tech. Envisioning a bold future, this panel will discuss the role of Latinas in tech both as users and as leaders of tech companies. Smartmatic technology is being used to shatter barriers for women in politics. Smartmatic played a crucial role in making Bolivia the second country with most female parliamentary representation. Oath is leveraging technology to engage Latinas through original content creation and video production, speaking to a powerful demographic in the U.S., Latin America and Spain. Scheduled Saturday, March 10.
  2. Don’t Duopolize Me. Facebook & Google have created an advertising duopoly predicted to wipe out smaller adtech companies & continue the decline of VC funding in adtech. Brands spend millions every year collecting consumer data they should rightfully own & be able to use while Google & Facebook are profiting. This panel explores why competition reform is needed for the overall ecosystem, what makes data consolidation bad for adtech and how brands can own their own data to elevate the consumer experience. Scheduled Monday, March 12.
  3. How Gender Fluidity Recasts Brand Engagement. The changing norms of gender identity and expression and the cultural, legal, and political implications have become heated conversations around the country. How should brands consider gender-expansive audiences as they create new products, services, and communications? Our panelists will discuss new ways of thinking about brand engagement strategy, design, and how to better craft experiences for changing attitudes on gender. Scheduled Monday, March 12.
  4. Black Twitter in the Trump Era. How has the phenomenon collectively known as “Black Twitter,” shifted from the Obama to Trump presidency wherein the President of the United States uses the social media platform as his primary method of communication to the world? How has the political polarization in America further heightened the visibility and importance of communities, collectively known as “Black Twitter?” From engagement with brands, to serving as brand ambassadors, Dr Goddess and Candi Castleberry-Singleton, the new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Twitter will discuss the political, cultural, and technological impact of Black Twitter. Scheduled Tuesday, March 13.
  5. Evolution of Advocacy & Employee Communications. Everyone wants deeply engaged employees, but emails, intranets and other technology have failed to deliver on the promise of connecting employees. To build an empowered, advocacy-oriented workforce, companies need to lay a strong foundation of internal comms and engagement. We’ll discuss everything from identifying the right content/audiences, to modernizing the technology you use to engage, streamline and measure the impact of communications with your most valued assets: your employees. Presented by W20 Group. Scheduled Tuesday, March 13.
  6. We Help Politicians Persuade. We’ll Help You, Too. What do President Obama, Vice President Biden, and dozens of other politicians and thought leaders have in common? They all need to persuade their audiences, and they’ve all hired us to help. We’re two professional speechwriters who practice the art of persuasion every day, and we’re sharing the tricks of our trade so you can do it, too. You’ll learn how to build an argument that matters, how to tell a story with impact, and how to leave your audience not just entertained, but persuaded. Scheduled Tuesday, March 13.
  7. Hurry Up: High Times Are Here. The US legal cannabis industry will boom to $50 billion in the next decade, more than eight times its current size. It will reinvent the consumer landscape and many familiar products and services. Will Prozac and beer still exist when weed is in the mix? Our panel hosted by futurist Faith Popcorn includes venture capitalist Jeffrey Finkle, scientist Chris Emerson Ph.D., and Bloomberg reporter Jenny Kaplan will share seismic shifts ahead, unforeseen obstacles, and opportunities to make it big. Scheduled Wednesday, March 14.
  8. Mastering Corporate Relevance in a Distracted World. In today’s ever-evolving marketplace, companies are outside looking in around the trends and issues that matter most to the future of their businesses. Put simply, if you’re not relevant you don’t exist. That’s why, today, relevance has become the new corporate currency. We’ll discuss how leading communicators are addressing this reality — ranging from implications to strategy, core positioning, building relationships with new audiences, and using advanced analytics to stay ahead of the curve. Presented by W20 Group. Scheduled Wednesday, March 14.
  9. Digital Playbook: Connecting Brands, Fans & Athletes. Fans crave and expect authenticity and two-way communication with athletes and celebrities. Influencer marketing is now an essential part of any strategy, but the ever-increasing social noise makes it hard for celebrities have meaningful interactions with fans and for brands to measure success. Hear how platforms like Slyce (backed by NBA superstar Stephen Curry) help celebs grow their online brands with more control and how brands can work more seamlessly with influencers for mutual benefit. Presented by W20 Group. Scheduled Thursday, March 15.
  10. The $40 Trillion Dollar Market Everyone Ignores. Over the next decade, US women will benefit from the largest transference of wealth in history. Female Baby Boomers and Generation Xers combined account for 70M individuals, a cohort that advertisers should salivate over. Yet research shows this group is overlooked. Join us for a session on how to engage this loyal, untapped consumer who is (surprise!) one of the top Facebook users and more likely to respond to advertising directed at her. Learn strategies for winning her attention and dollars. Scheduled Thursday, March 15.

You can buy a badges for SXSW 2018 by clicking here. There are also still lots of convenient hotel rooms available for the event. For more important info on March March 2018, check out these eight helpful links. See you soon in Austin!

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.