There are several keys to selling your brand successfully, said Guy Kawasaki who was the number 2 guy behind Steve Jobs during the computer company’s rebirth. The speech he gave on Sunday March 13 was titled “The Art of Enchantment”. In this speech he listed actions that employees and managers need to do to extend their company’s brand identity.
Kawasaki is not the traditional speaker that you would hear at an interactive concert.
“Tech people suck as speakers,” he joked. “Sucking and being long is like being stupid and arrogant.”
From that point on, the packed ballroom hung onto every word that Kawasaki uttered. His speech was direct. It was detailed without getting too technical. And he addressed complex issues in simple terms. This made it easy for the audience to follow along while actually learning.
Some highlights from the hour-long speech about what a company must do to sell a brand:
· Be likeable, the eyes are the key to a great smile
· Perfect your handshake.
· Most important, you need to tell a story!
- written by Ade Coker
SXSW is in full gear and there is an endless supply of swag in the atmosphere – both literally and figuratively speaking. For those who aren’t aware SXSW is a hotbed of free stuff! Companies eager for attention or simply trying to please adoring fans/customers constantly hand out t-shirts, gifts, chotchskies, food, drinks (both alcoholic and non) and overall fun related material.
Below is the top 5 list of all swag related materials I encountered during the trip:
5. Sobe mixed drinks – a great fusion of Sobe drinks with vodka never hurt anybody.
4. Foursquare American Apparel Shirts – high quality tees for all the aspiring mayors out there.
3. Microsoft Snap-On Watches – that classic concept mixed with modern and colorful timepieces.
2. Hipmunk Travel Tags – seriously, who wouldn’t love that little mascot to follow you on your travels?
1. Life-size replica of that Foursquare Gap Advertisement – apparently Dens and Naveen linking arms. Weird.
Honorable mentions include the Google light-up ring, Blizzy QR Coded Shirts, and the SXSW Digital Swag Bag/Give out.
“We want the interaction to feel familiar to us, and to feel instinctual,” panelist Lynn Teo said as she projected a video of a 2 year old being handed an iPad for the first time. The toddler easily figured out how to swipe through content, zoom, and rotate the iPad for a different orientation.
The size, portability, and touch element of tablets create a new user experience that is more direct and sensually engaging than desktop computers, laptops, or smartphones. As a result, a unique set of design conventions is emerging. Leo analyzed the navigation schemes of 50 leading iPad apps to look for patterns, and her findings were fascinating.
Leo said that the most successful apps are ones that reference the physical world. The MoMA app, for example, recreates the wall space of an art gallery. The CNN app presents news as if each story were a card tacked onto a board. One of the cooking apps replicates a kitchen table, and even presents the recipes on images of food-stained paper.
Even though I really enjoyed this panel, it’s hard for me to accept Leo’s findings as “design conventions.” The iPad is still such a new technology, and the visual language of tablet navigation is bound to go through many changes. I only wish Leo talked more about where she thought tablet design was heading.
Any magazine publisher or editor will admit that no one has “figured out” the iPad magazine yet. Sales flagged early on; many tablet editions earned mixed reviews from readers and pundits. Just last Friday, Bonnier and ad agency CP&B released a study showing that readers fail to engage with iPad magazines and are easily led away to other applications.
But where major magazines and publishers failed, Flipboard succeeded. The gorgeously designed iPad app aggregates real-time updates from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other sources into a magazine-like format. It now has one million downloads, and more than half of its users are highly active. And as founder Mike McCue explained at Friday’s panel, “Flipboard: Game-changer or just a fad?,” the company now advises major magazine publishers on optimizing their iPad editions. Below, some of his tips.
1. Emphasize aesthetics. “The iPad is an opportunity to combine the realtime nature of the web with the aesthetics of print,” McCue said. Magazines should embrace that with clean layouts that “give content room to breathe” and replicate, or at least imitate, the immersive experience of print.
2. Update in realtime. Flipboard’s appeal lies in its currentness: the app looks different every time you open it. Compare that to most of the major iPad editions, where content is just as static as a print magazine. “The last thing readers expect is for that content to be old,” McCue said. “It’s glowing at you and looks like the Internet.”
3. Add social elements. Readers want to share and react to content, but aren’t always given the opportunity on tablets. McCue recommends sharing features and realtime elements that let readers engage with the magazine. He likes National Geographic’s Twitter list of Arctic explorers, which tracks current explorers on their travels.
“Governments aren’t afraid of informed individuals, they’re afraid of synchronized ideas,” said speaker Clay Shirky at a speech about how social media could be used to spark a revolution. Shirky did not illustrate how activists seeking free democratic state can use new age communication to bring down an overbearing government. The Egyptian citizens did it on their own.
The ability to share information freely is a primary function of any healthy nation. When governments use censorship and propaganda to control their citizens, people are forced to find information to develop tools to fight suppression. Using Facebook, Twitter, camera phones and text messaging, Egyptian protestors were able to unite their views and share common gripes with the existing government.
Shirky described the dangers of social media for the Egyptian government. He credited Internet penetration with planting the seeds of democracy several years ago. Social media did not create their unrest. It stirred it and allowed them to coordinate.
“Technology is a dictator’s dilemma,” he explained. “Getting information is important. Getting information out is imperative.”
On Saturday March 12, a panel of entertainment executives spoke about how media companies are increasingly communicating with their customers online. They explained how consumer demand drives innovation and it only makes sense to participate in the discussion.
The old corporate policy of respectfully ignoring customers and avoiding online discussions is antiquated. A strong word of advice from one panelist:
“Customers will talk about you either way. It only makes sense to engage in conversation to steer it in the right direction.”
The five experts for the “Entertainment is Social” panel used BP as a recent example of how to use social media for image enhancement.
To further develop brand identity one panelist advised that media companies shouldn’t erase all negative comments written about them in the digital space. Instead, he suggested,
“Defend yourself and tell them you’ll try to do it better”
- written by Ade Coker
Today I attended a brilliant SXSW panel entitled “The Future of Philanthropy: Social Giving Takes Off.” As one who believes the practical convergence of idealism and realism is key for inspiring significant and long-lasting global reform, it was fascinating to hear from experts in the field of using social media to improve and save lives.
While one guest expressed that he was feeling “caused out” these days, panel leader Daniel Patterson led a thought-provoking discussion that made me more optimistic about my generation’s potential to make a difference via Facebook/Twitter/etc.
When explaining the key challenges for nonprofits, Patterson and the other panelists expressed that building trust is the most important step for increasing organizational awareness and support. My startup VouchBoard will allow nonprofits to showcase support from those who value their work. I’m hoping VB will help establish this trust, while encouraging users to also recognize friends and colleagues who dedicate their time, energy, and/or money for making a positive mark. This panel certainly inspired me to do my part.
-Andrew Bank (Senior at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School)
Waves of buzzing and chatting roared, as the largest ballroom filled with SXSW-goers looking to hear a keynote from Marissa Mayer, the product gatekeeper of Google and head of mobile gelo-location team, that would hopefully release a fresh reality-shattering product.
Unfortunately, it felt a lot more like a look back at what Google has been up to over the several months. Mayer explained a few geo-location services in the mobile marketplace that have been gaining some traction, like, google places, hotpot and google goggles. Despite lacking insight to where we’re headed, Mayer made an interesting comment about the potential power of where we are now, ”ours phones are like cursors between the digital and physical world.” Cursors that augment or diminish our ability to explore our surroundings.
It seems the times are a indeed changin’ here in Austin at SXSW. No longer are rock stars required to play music, but instead write source code and create websites.
Being a first time attendee at SXSW is needless to say an eye-opening event - as the saying goes, there is so much to do with so little time. While attending panels, events, networking sessions, and parties are all great, the truly fun thing to do at SXSW is strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know or someone you really admire - the rock star. This tactic alone has been the most valuable take-away so far on this trip - having someone important take the time to actually listen and care does make a difference. Within the past 24 hours alone I have been able to randomly meet founders of some really awesome and impressive companies – but I really shouldn’t name drop (Reddit and Foursqure, cough). Although it is a struggle to keep the groupies away when speaking, I was impressed with all their honesty and friendliness - there is a real pay-it-forward demeanor here.
SXSW also provides a great platform for people to take what they want while still making the most of their experience. I have received great ideas for Broodr while attending panels, but better advice direct from founders themselves. The moral of this post is not to be intimidated by anyone or anything while at SXSW. It seems that the people here really are rock stars in the truest form (brilliant yet humble, and crazy and constantly on the move) however, they are also easy going and easy to talk to.
While I do hope Broodr become a hit, I realized the rock star lifestyle may not be for me - especially after the thought of grown men chasing me around (kinda creepy)!
On occasion, panels at sxsw are infiltrated by buzzwords, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t incredibly valuable. This morning’s panel on Banking on Big Brands/Cells for the Web was one of those panels hat featured a few great panelists seasoned with a bit of snakeoil.
Comedian Kevin Pollak was great talking about how celebrities can leverage the internet to create an independent platform for themselves to create original content about which they can get really passionate. On occasion, this content can ally with a brand to create some social media and internet marketing heaven, but when it goes wrong, the audience can see directly through the gimmick rendering it useless.
Joined by a great moderator and others in the entertainment industry, Kevin’s points and anecdotes about what I’ve dubbed celebranding made for a really educational panel.
But he was joined by a buzzwords specialist from AOL. I don’t know how this woman qualified to be on the panel but she (and on occasion the rest of the panel) spoke of ‘quality content’ without defining quality and spoke as if impressions were the number one way to manage brand engagement. In this case, I think she has a lot to learn about social media and branding, especially since the AOL content farm rarely produces what I’d rate as quality.
The panel, though making a great point about taking control of content from the main studios and finding a niche audience on the internet, did not apply any of these tactics to their branding strategy. They talked about getting the most impressions, but views do not measure brand loyalty or effectiveness, and are considered by most effective social media pros as poor ways to measure community. To pick on the low, Charlie Sheen acquired a large following quickly but how many of those are just watching the proverbial car wreck.
I’ll rag on the AOL chick because ignoring her buzzwords is possibly the best content filtering tool I can think of, but after siphoning off her contributed, the panel was actually very informative.
Eliza Dushku also sat two seats in front of me and srmiled at me so this might just be my favorite panel this year.
Being an ignorant SXSW newbie, I figured a panel entitled “How To Not Be A Douchebag At SXSW” would be a stellar way to kick of the world’s greatest meeting of tech nerds and aging hipsters. I was right. This discussion helped me discover some common “Interactive” pet peeves, including “drunk Tweeting,” “surfing name tags,” “drive-by business card shootings,” and “invasion of locational privacy.”
As a student aiming to balance representing Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with promoting my own startup (the recently launched VouchBoard), it is essential that I conduct myself in a professional manner while meeting people at SXSW. I will strive to be passionate, communicative, and creative. I will do my best to soak in Austin’s culture, while listening to innovative ideas and developing a greater understanding of how new media continue to influence more traditional platforms. Being a douchebag will only get in the way.
I can’t wait to see what I will learn on Day 2.
- Andrew Bank (Senior at Syracuse University)
SXSWi is famous for its geeked out parties and last night was an awesome kickoff to the festival. I signed up for the Austin Startup Bar Crawl and met up with a few friends (Liz from the Syracuse Student Sandbox, John from DeviceKnit and James and Shawn from Levlr) to explore the startup offices of this hospitable town. A number of startup businesses opened their doors to the early birds of SXSWi, letting us explore their awesome collaborative work spaces.
The first stop had ice cream. What more could you ask for? Well, ice cream, beer and some Dutch entrepreneurs.
The second stop at Conjunctured, a “coworking space” in Austin, had a dunking booth, but, as the host pointed out, everyone was more interested in the pizza he ordered than dunking him in a tank full of water. The space was located in an old house in which the pretty much every room but the kitchen was converted into office space. It was here we met a guy developing a way for people to get group travel rates by allowing users to create “trips” people can join. This allows young travelers to book hotels, etc. together, get a discount rate and travel cheaper (I’ll update when I remember what it’s called).
Then we all missed the bus, so we missed a lot of the other places on the Startup Tour, but we ventured over to the Gowalla offices on the other side of downtown Austin. Bikes hang from walls and the location-based service gave us a lot of swag, including a beer cozy that works like a snap bracelet from my childhood.
Liz and I ran into the Head of Recruitment and HR for Gowalla, who talked about her methods and some challenges she faced in finding developers. According to her, it’s more important for the company to recruit people who get the culture of Gowalla, even if they don’t have as much experience.
The Gowalla party was the place to be last night for entrepreneurs and startups. Everywhere we looked, someone was talking about their exciting new venture and it’s near impossible not to feed off their excitement, or maybe that’s all the free green tea I drank at Gowalla.