NATIONAL @ SXSW - Tacos, Fighting for the Front Door & More

Posted Friday, March 11, 2016

Mercedes Smith

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    Enjoying DELICIOUS tacos at Mashable House.

Our first day in Austin at SXSW Interactive was filled with delightful moments, momentary heartbreaks and big ideas.

We awoke to discover we hadn’t won the lottery for tickets to see President Barack Obama speak. And thus we suffered a (short-lived) momentary heartbreak. Quickly, we rallied and the rest of the day (so far) has been a whirlwind AND IT IS ONLY 2:20 pm, Austin time! We’re not even half done. Here’s what we’ve heard, seen and learned:

The Fight for the Front Door

During this fascinating panel we heard about the battle for delivery dominance. As customers demand increasingly personalized experiences (where, when and by whom to have packages delivered and what kind of updates they expect to have), this has opened up the space to disruptors and innovators. It’s also having a direct impact on retailers who are trying to determine how the “last mile” in a customer’s experience with a brand can impact ongoing loyalty. “The fight for the front door will look more like insurgency than the traditional lines of battle,” was the quote of the day.

Social Activism – How to Ignite a Movement

In this INSANELY fascinating talk by researcher Derrick Feldmann, our brains got a workout. The session revolved around moving away from the concept of creating something “viral” and instead working on the perfect formula for driving real change:

  1. Build and gather believers.
  2. Let the people take action with one another.
  3. Drive the “pinnacle action”.
  4. Sustain the movement.

“Does a movement matter if it never achieves anything?" he asked, while we dove deep into how to drive the formula to success and link it to change. Especially interesting to us was his note that messaging around “Will you help us?” always performs much lower than messaging along the lines of “YOU are imperative to making this change”. Excellent session!

The Next Multibillion Dollar Opportunity: Marketing in Messaging

Facilitated by leading communications experts from Unilever, Comedy Central, Kik and Snaps, this session attracted a full house of people who see a serious future in harnessing the power of messaging apps for branded engagements. During this talk we learned SO MUCH. Where to start. Okay, here are our bullets:

  • We need to look toward harnessing the power of customized keyboards (emojis and gifs) to engage with superfans.
  • Great ideas shouldn’t be restricted by a platform, they should start with an insight and connect with people at the right place and time.
  • Focus on the importance of quality content – the bar’s never been higher.
  • Brands with purpose get an exponentially higher engagement rate; start with an idea and then see how it can add value to people, rather than interrupt them.

Mashable House

We took a break at Mashable House, enjoying VR experiences, temporary tattoos (a unicorn for Steph, a taco for Mercedes) and a DELICIOUS complementary taco.

That’s all (for now). We’ve got a lot more to see, do, taste and experience. You can follow our adventures with #NationalSXSW on Twitter and Instagram.