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SXSW 2012 REVIEW
BY MICHELLE SADLIER
SXSW BY THE NUMBERS• 24,569 attendees at SXSW
• 503, 778 tweets sent this year (up 40% from last year)
• Foursquare won out among sharing apps used to post to Twitter, edging out Instagram and lapping YouTube.
• Highlight – an impressive 75% of the buzz around social discovery apps was for ambient awareness app Highlight.
• 41% of the SXSW Interactive content sent out via Twitter was photos. 34% was check-ins.
• 77% of #sxsw tweets posted from an iPhone, it’s still king.
SXSW THE PICTURES
JAY-Z PERFORMS AT AMEX GIG
ANGRY BIRDS FLASH MOB
JIMMY FALLON HOSTS NIKE FUEL BAND TALK
JUST ONE OF THE ‘KEYNOTE’ SPEECHES AT SXSW THE MAIN STREET IN
AL GORE GIVES SPEECH AT SXSW
KEY PANELS ILLUSTRATEDAd agency Ogilvy created Ogilvy Notes to capture all the action of SXSW’s most interesting panels in a creative way. They sent several artists to the conference, who sketched key panels in a style known as visual note-taking.
SXSW KEY VIDEOS
WHAT IS SXSW?
PETE CASHMORE TALKS NEXT BIG THING AT SXSW http://youtu.be/HR-z6BDtpas
JAY-Z PERFORMS AT SXSW (AMEX)
NIKE FUEL PRESENCE SXSW #COUNTS
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS
1. HIGHLIGHT IS SXSW’S MOST BUZZED ABOUT START-UP
This app helps you learn more about the people around you. If someone standing near you also has
Highlight, their profile will show up on your phone. You can see their name, photos, mutual friends
and anything else they have chosen to share. When you meet someone, Highlight helps you see
what you have in common with them. If your friends are nearby, it will notify you. If someone
interesting crosses your path, it will tell you more about them.
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS
2. SOCIAL MEDIA IN EUROPE COVERS THE SAME PLATFORMS, BUT THE
CULTURAL DIFFERNCES IN BEHAVIOUS COMPARED TO THE US ARE
Culturally, Europeans separate their work from their private lives. Peak usage times vary, as do
expectations of brands on social platforms. For example, when asked what the circumstances would
have to be to warrant interaction on Facebook, 42% of Europeans reported that they would only
engage with a brand if there was a customer service issue. Contrastingly, in the US, a whopping 40% of
people claimed that they interact with the brands that they purchase from and have an affinity toward.
Fashion and Luxury implications: Europe is often overlooked while brands focus on emerging
markets like Asia, India and Brazil. However, since the platforms are the same (Facebook as opposed
to Weibo), it makes sense to learn how to use the same sites in modified ways to speak more directly
and effectively to the European audience.
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS3. DATA IS THE FUTURE
Whether regarding mining specific geo-location data on your smartphone to locate other users (as popular
festival apps like Highlight did), or about using insight data on customers’ apparel preferences online to
influence buying decisions (like Gap is doing), there is no question that data is the future. Facial recognition
software presented like Face.com or microchips in our brains like Ray Kurzweil spoke about, make data
much more human and personal. An interesting thing to ponder is the implications of information as
extensions of us. Currently, we have instant access to data through our smartphones, but how will this impact
the way we view this data and our own intelligence? Will we separate information we access from our own
intellectual thoughts or adopt it as a product of ourselves?
Fashion and Luxury implications: In our industry, there is a constant focus on the image, whether the
brand persona, the actual visuals or the appearance of exclusivity. However, it is the real data that will help
inform us and drive business forward. Rather than start with the image, if we start with an understanding of
information that tells us more about how users interact online, higher return on investment can be achieved,
along with a more customized user experience.
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS4. THE RISE OF THE CONNECTED FAN
Digital media has reshaped the fashion industry, runway shows have become a spectator sport for the mass consumer and as it
turns out there is a lot fashion can learn from the world of sports and the rise of the digitally connected sports fan.
‘The Sports Fan in 2015’ panel presented by Richard Ting and Kyle Bunch of digital agency R/GA outlined how the internet is
breaking down the borders between fans and players, giving rise to a number of trends.
Fashion and Luxury implications: The first is the emergence of “crowdsourced coaching” in which fans and coaches make
collective decisions, for example which players should start a game. Imagine, for a moment, fashion fans collectively influencing
which model was to open a hotly anticipated show. Also on the horizon is the growth of “remote fandom via telepresence,”
meaning that fans following a game online, no matter where they are in the world, can make their presence felt inside the
physical stadium, influencing, for example, what appears on jumbotron screens. Could this concept be adapted and incorporated
into a runway show?
Frictionless sharing via near field communication (NFC), another innovation soon coming to the sports arena, could let fashion
editors auto-tweet their arrival at shows just by tapping their phones as they enter a venue, while the explosion of second screen
apps that’s set to enrich the sports experience with access to live stats and multiple camera angles could offer these same
editors new tools to transmit the excitement of runway shows to fans and followers.
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS5. THE REAL WINNERS: AMEX AND NIKE
It was neither young start-ups nor technology giants — who erected branded spaces like Google Village and
Microsoft’s Bing Lot — but Nike and American Express who were the biggest winners at this year’s
conference. Both brands delivered well-executed consumer experiences that struck a chord with attendees
and generated an explosion of positive buzz on social media.
Demonstrating the company’s brand promise, “Membership has its privileges,” American Express gave
cardholders who synced their cards to their Twitter accounts a chance to attend a Jay-Z concert at Austin’s
Nike made its first official appearance at SXSW this year. The brand erected basketball courts, skateboard
parks, motion-responsive billboards, an Apple-like pop-up store that morphed into a night time concert
venue and a skyscraper-scale app that measured and projected the collective energy level of dancing
concert-goers, in realtime, onto the Frost Bank Building in downtown Austin — all to promote the launch of
Nike’s new activity-tracking FuelBand.
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS6. GOOGLE = IS BEING USED – SO SAYS GOOGLE.
Despite recent reports that Google+ (GOOG) users spend a mere 3.3 minutes there a month,
rendering it a virtual "ghost town," engineering chief Vic Gundotra argued the service is one of the
fastest growing the company has ever launched. Gundotra reported that 50 million individual users
log onto Google+ each day, and 100 million users sign in at least once a month, with a lot of social
network activity happening privately among users. (He didn't however, specify how much time they're
actually spending on it.)
SXSW KEY LEARNINGS7. FASHION’S GREATEST CHALLENGE LIES IN REALIGNING PRODUCTION WITH
I hosted a panel at SXSW entitled ‘Who Needs A Fashion Cycle? I’ve Got Social Media’ where we discussed the
future of the current production and communication process.
“If I were the CEO of a major fashion brand today, my focus would be on trying to compress the production
cycle so it realigned with communications,” Imran Amed, founder and editor of The Business of Fashion, said at
We are at the beginning of a seismic change in the way consumers communicate with each other, make decision,
and ultimately purchase. It’s only by changing the operational side of what we do that we’re going to be able to
The current way the fashion cycle operates means that brands are missing out on capturing that “intent to
purchase at the point of inspiration.
Amed suggested creating two separate events around the shows. One small and quiet for trade to see the
season ahead, and the other a big, all-out affair for consumers, timed so it’s in sync with the actual season. So in
other words, shifting the position of the fashion show as we know it today, so it sits at the end of the cycle rather
than the beginning.