Best of South by Southwest Interactive 2015

ClickZ caught up with some industry experts at South by Southwest to ask about the most exciting ideas coming out of the festival this year. 

image1-1James Kirkham, Global Head of Social & Mobile, Leo Burnett Worldwide

The world of influencers is now massive, with everyone understanding the space and knowing how an influencer strategy on behalf of a brand can be completely right. Internet stars and smart partnerships can create proper reach and legitimacy. But the discussions on its evolution are most interesting to observe.

Snapchat influencers, for example, will become huge and the rise of apps like Meerkat prove, too, where the explosion of this short-form followable video content will be heading. A particularly interesting thought was where influencers go next in the world. And if there is a need for more responsibility to be handed over to those who have such huge followings on their social channels.

mazda-cmoRussell Wager, Vice President of Marketing, Mazda

I really enjoyed the connected car display because the connected car is finally getting more accepted. Now we just need to figure out what customers want a car to do for them without going too much into people’s personal space. There’s so much we can do in terms of reaching customers in their cars, but we have to respect privacy.

 

alan-gellman-0077-final-5b1-5dAlan Gellman, Chief Marketing Officer, Esurance

I liked Biz Stone’s talk. There’s some good philosophy there. He said that measurement isn’t just about financial success. It should also be about social input. Companies should make money, but we should also bring empathy into business.

 

 

sam-bergen-1Sam Bergen, Executive Creative Director, Energy BBDO

There were a few themes that I noticed in a number of the panels. The first is simplicity, with so much at our fingertips now it is tempting to always add more into brand messaging, but time and time again thought leaders at SXSW were promoting the power of simplicity. Having a focused message, a singular goal, and avoiding making your marketing do too much should always be your goal.

Second, the idea is still paramount. In a world where content continues its rise, you need to make content compelling or it will just be ignored. Paid social has dramatically changed the ability to scale content, but to really make it worth the investment it needs to cut through the clutter. Content needs to be thought of as entertainment first. There is so much content out there, if someone is going to take their time to opt in to a marketing message it really needs to be entertainment first and brand second, especially on the Web.

nancyabrahamNancy Abraham, Vice President of Advertising, Esurance

My favorite panels this week were Malcolm Gladwell and the board of Google. Both discussed how the human element is still important to brands. The other thing I love at SXSW is the interaction of brands. We don’t normally have the opportunity to interact with each other, and the conference is a great time to spend some time learning from one another.

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