South by Southwest Interactive kicks off this Friday, so what can we expect to see from the multi-faceted festival? The 22nd annual South by Southwest (SXSW) interactive festival will be hosted in cool and funky Austin, Texas, starting March 13 through March 17. The festival features a myriad of cutting-edge tech and limit-pushing digital creativity. The event hosts five days of interactive presentations and panels, networking events, specialty programs, live music, film, and more. SXSW has become a millennial-focused mecca of technology preview, creative use of digital, entertainment, and analysis.
How Brands Make Their Mark At SXSB
Naturally, the festival is like catnip for brands targeting the ever important millennial demographic. One of the greatest challenges brands face is the wide variety of options they have to choose from when sponsoring the event. The festival is massive in size and diversity, considering that the conglomeration of conferences span from tech to film to digital marketing to music. If a brand is participating in the event with the hopes of proving their tech is the next greatest invention, then they have a difficult fight ahead of them. The attention of the millennials in attendance will be pulled in many directions, so brands will have to be creative in the way they grab the attention of the attention deficit millennials.
Expect to See…
This year, expect to see great promise in the virtual reality spectrum. It is theorized that virtual reality will be applied to larger scale platforms, beyond gaming. As virtual reality and 3D environments get more accessible (technologically and monetarily) you can expect to see more cases of immersive journalism; where documentaries use virtual realty to convey the sight, sounds, and feelings of the news. We can also expect to see some of the latest developments in wearable tech, fashion tech, and drones.
Marketing at SXSW
SXSW is not your typical convention where the biggest and brightest display gets the most attention; that particular type of marketing is reserved for the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas every year. SXSW is all about how technology can help people live their lives and tell stories in the most creative and impactful way.
Of course, millennials will be attending SXSW in droves, so brands need to leverage the demographic when they have the chance. Millennials are considered the best focus group on the planet. If a brand passes the inspection of the millennial demo then you will likely have followed success with other demographics. It would be wise for larger brands to test campaigns on the SXSW audience. If the campaign passes the test at the festival, then they can consider the success a green light to roll the campaign out on a larger scale.