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:

Know yourself

Gary Vaynerchuk with fans before his talk at SXSW 2015

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 impressions on social media streams

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’.


Meerkat made a big splash at SXSW this year

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!

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, during his talk at the PayPal Social Media Lounge. There are several ‘lounges’ hosted around Austin during SXSW that offer very high quality talks during the show, outside of the official program. In order to access these lounges you need to be a SXSW badge holder and RSVP in advance of the show
GE’s BBQscience display at SXSW 2015
Robotic hands demo at the SXSW Trade Show
Shot from the Listening Command Center at SXSW. Social media results from February, 14 to 16.
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