My five SXSW revelations
For the past 4 days I have seen many of those who I follow on social media talk to me on sessions, I've met them on the street or even had lunch with them. It has been an intense learning experience, which I have now mixed and shaken for you into these SXSW revelations:
I think this became the mantra of 2015 SXSW from day one. Knowing yourself as a way to drive authenticity for your brand and achieve meaningful connections. Linda Boff talked about it: ‘if you do not know your brand, you can’t get your agency to figure it out for you’. Gary Vaynerchuk also allude to this as they key to successful leadership: ‘(from his father) If you buy something, you keep it’… basically saying that you have to be true to your word and to yourself. And final word, from Jack Welch: ‘Be yourself, stay authentic…like who you are but change as you learn about yourself.’ For an interesting point of view on authenticity, you can also read this post from my colleague Conor McKechnie.
A big thing called ‘Culture’
Charlene Lee, Altimeter Group Founder and CEO said that one of the biggest challenges we can find to set up a digital/social media strategy is culture: ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ Jack Welch also went to explain how his biggest mistake was about taking decisions in business (acquisitions) based on numbers without paying attention to the companies’ culture. When two very different cultures come together, it is very difficult to make sense (and money) out of it.
Buzzfeed knows what is doing
Buzzfeed’s sessions where both eye opening and inspiring. They are true leaders in the ‘storytelling’ space and managing content creation and distribution like no other.
Buzzfeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti lessons on content distribution really got me thinking. Until now I always thought about content being centrally published on a content hub, for example, your blog, then you would seed links accross all social media platforms to drive visits back to your site. Buzzfeed says: ‘why pushing links when you can push content?’. Basically they are proposing to tell the same story natively in each platform, without having to drive people back to your site. Interested to read more? Read BuzzFeed’s New Strategy: Fishing for Eyeballs in Other People’s Streams
Appetite for Disruption
Buzzfeed’s Dao Nguyen shared how editors at Buzzfeed at encourage to try and test new content. Failure is accepted. Bad content makes for creating good content. Testing content is part of the culture at Buzzfeed. And it works.
GE’s Linda Boff also talked about ‘disruption’ as a key area for the digital marketing team at GE, along with ‘performance’ and ‘creative’.
If you go to SXSW you expect to hear about the latest technologies appearing into the scene. This year, everyone was talking about Meerkat, the new app that allows you to broadcast real time video to your twitter feed. While Twitter has been trying to block Meerkat out (given Twitter’s own live streaming video service, Periscope), the app has been working on the side to keep things moving. Even Jimmy Fallon meerkated his own rehearsal of the Tonight Show.
And finally, for a flavor of other things SXSW, see below. Images speak louder than words!