The Software as Service Industrial Complex has landed everywhere
Salesforce completely made-over HandleBar as the Cloud Bar – new paint job and all. BazaarVoice held their 2 Day customer summit a few days before SXSW started – excellently done. Spredfast threw a party with almost 1000 people next to their centrally-located HQ. The Dachis Group now a software and services company held their Social Business Summit. This is serious business. Those companies enabling the expansion of social-related services – the new marketing – were here in full force.
Sessions on Brand Fans and Advocacy are busting at the seams
As always, the session subjects are all over the map. There aren’t that many clearly focused on brands. Those that had a “brand fan” or advocacy-related label were teaming. This included the session featuring Shiv Singh from Pepsi. That session shared about the Super Bowl program and the ‘Do Me a Flavor’ crowdsource program for Lays. The panelists were great about offering insights into the work and not simple platitudes.
The Gems are in There…Somewhere
In terms of actual sessions, it is a complete haystack. In the spirit of mixed metaphors, finding the gems in the haystack is all about luck. The signal-to-noise ratio is high. I attended a session on “Tech-first Brainstorming” led by Will Turnage from RGA. The headline didn’t do the session justice. I left filled with ideas about how to apply bits and bobs to what I do. Not going to sessions at all would leave you gem-less and noisy.
Hospitality touch-downs have become sooo wonderfully awesome
Brands and tech companies know that the ever-growing SXSW Interactive (24K?) is stressful. And then it rains. So, many have set up great touchdowns. Spreecast had one in the W. My favorite was Mass Relevance. An Austin Ventures-backed company with a great UGC-management tool, they opened their doors to friendlies who need a place to take a meeting, tackle some work, just plain sit down or….have a warm cookie.
Serendipity turns SXSW into magically worthwhile
I ran into Jory and Lisa from BlogHer, David Sifry from Technorati, The guys from M80. And here’s the topper: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, gave an inspiring talk about his Las Vegas project at the SBSummit. A few years ago, I introduced Tony as a keynote at WOMMA. I did the introduction from inside the Weinermobile, which we had parked inside the hall. A whip-smart woman – Alana – was the team leader of the Weinermobile. Turns out she sat next to me at the Social Business Summit at SXSW and now she works for Blippar – the awesome AR app that is taking FMCGs by storm. Even as it grows, you will always make great connections at SXSW.
Day 1 Reflection by Gemma Craven, Head of Social@Ogilvy New York