Archives For 10 things

Most of the interesting work I’ve been pursuing for brands over the last couple of years was directly influenced by the things I learned at South By Southwest, where nerds are celebrities and everyone is trying to launch the next Twitter.

With over 800 scheduled sessions, there is a hell of a lot you can learn in 5 days, but for the sake of brevity, I boiled the findings from my last trip down to a seminar called 10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW.

For me, the most valuable thing I took away was a framework of authenticity, content, relevance and utility as guiding principles for creative and strategic development.

2014: we’re back, baby.

SXSW, texas, Austin, BBQ, Salt Lick

The Salt Lick: the other reason Austin is famous.

Thanks to my friends over at Ogilvydo (the agency’s online magazine for thought-leadership), I am fortunate enough to be heading to Austin again, as part of a larger Ogilvy team bringing you trends and insights for brands, marketers and innovators. My particular focus will be on storytelling: how stories are originated, structured, produced, managed and distributed for brands and their audiences.

There are well over two dozen individual sessions, including a handful of long-form workshops dedicated just to this area and I’ll be doing my best to learn from them all. I’m also looking at startups and innovation culture, growth hacking and future publishing. Here’s my schedule of sessions I’m planning/hoping to attend – if you’ve got recommendations or suggestion I’d love to hear from you.

South By South East Asia: Is America’s biggest tech festival broadening its outlook?

SXSW tara talk

Living in an Asian Megacity is the mother of this particular invention

I spent yesterday afternoon interviewing regional analyst and trendwatcher Tara Hirebet, who is based here in Singapore and operates out of the local chapter of The HUB, a global network of co-working spaces for entrepreneurs, technologists and creatives.

If you’re looking for evidence that startup culture is alive and kicking in Asia, I recommend you start here: it was virtually standing room only on a Tuesday afternoon. Tara was selected to present at this year’s SXSW and I got a sneak preview of her session,  ‘How Overcrowded Asian Cities Inspire Innovation’, which is one of several this year with a distinctly Asian focus.

Another is ‘Co-Creation by Design: Asia, Women & Innovation’ from Singapore-based entrepreneurs Grace Clapham and Bernice Ang. Look for the interviews and previews on Ogilvydo in the next couple of weeks.

You look taller than your avatar

One of the real joys of these conferences is the chance to meet IRL the people that you’ve been reading, following, retweeting and upvoting. If you’re reading this and you’re heading to SXSW, give me a shout @BarrieSeppings

There will be no shortage of SXSW advice articles in the next few weeks (and they all say: stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes and A.B.C.*), so I won’t add to the pile except to point to the web services I’m relying on to get me there and get me through it:

– hitting up Airbnb for accommodation (which always scarce)

– grooving to these Spotify playlists

– getting some “I met you at” cards from moo.com

– pre-registering for a bunch of events with rsvpster

– keeping Uber up my phone sleeve (taxis are also scarce)

– finding a few local spots via ATXThrillist, if the lanyard crowd gets all too much

Despite all the planning and preparation, I like to think that the random talks – and people – are often the best. It’s always good to have a plan, as long as you remember to stay open to possibilities.

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* Always Be Charging

SXSW Interactive runs from March 7 to 11.

Tara Hirebet is an Asian Trend & Innovation Consultant & Ex-Head of Asia Pacific, trendwatching.com. She will be delivering “How Overcrowded Asian Cities Inspire Innovation” on Monday March 10 at SXSW, Austin, Texas.

Ogilvydo will be covering SXSW Interactive 2014, focusing on trends and insights for brands, marketers and innovators.

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About the Author: Barrie Seppings blogs about making things better – for clients, brands, agencies and humans. He is currently Regional Creative Director at Ogilvy Singapore and he likes boards surf, skate and snow. Follow him on the Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, or add him on Google+

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Using social media to amplify your agenda, attract influencers and encourage high-value individuals to attend & promote.

When someone says ‘social media’ we tend to jump immediately to our own experience: using Facebook or LinkedIn or something similar.

One useful approach for Social is to think about it as traditional PR, updated for the tools and platforms of the digital age. Who are the online movers and shakers in the industry or topic your event will be covering? Who gets quoted a lot? Who publishes? Who do they work for or represent?

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b2b, events, social, profiling

Find the influencers in your field: they’re worth their weight in gold.

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The reason you might want to pursue a social influencer strategy is to utilise these individuals as a de facto media channel. An influencer is described as such because they have a large or important audience. The more closely their audience maps to yours (remember, you took time to detail who your audience is when you set your objectives), the more valuable that influencer is to your event.

Your ‘influencer audit’ is simply a list of the individuals that you want to have at and talking about your event. Your ‘outreach strategy’ is really just a simple plan of how you might approach them – the channels you might go through, the things you would say and the offers you might make. It’s important to construct a benefit for the influencer first. Also important is to have someone with working knowledge of the topic (not just the event) do the outreach.

It can be time-consuming, but getting a keynote speaker or other senior, visible expert from your brand to make the first contact can be very effective. Ideally, your speakers and company experts should be influencers too, and they can use their ‘digital eminence’ to generate interest and social coverage. There really aren’t many areas of social that you can safely ‘leave to the intern’ – influencer outreach has been off that list for a very long time.

This is the second installment of the series: 10 ways to leverage digital for better B2B eventsWe recently ran an audit of the various tactics, strategies and recommendations we’ve developed @ Ogilvy for using digital to improve the live event experience (for the audience) and performance (for the marketer) – this list is a summary of what we found to be true and useful.

< Previously in this series: #1 Setting objectives

> Up nex in this seriest: #3: Electronic Press Kits

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About the Author: Barrie Seppings blogs about making things better – for clients, brands, agencies and humans. He is currently Regional Creative Director at Ogilvy Singapore and he likes boards surf, skate and snow. Follow him on the Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, or add him on Google+

About the images: all photographs used with the permission of Martin Ollman Photography. Contact Martin directly for rights and commissions.

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Traditionally, B2B companies spend a lot of money on live events and it’s easy to see why. Once you get to the big end of town, especially with large-scale technology or finance solutions and consulting engagements, it’s hardly an “Add to cart” purchasing decision. You’re looking at long sales cycles, multiple decision-makers and a loosely defined set of ‘purchase influencers’.

While face-to-face engagement remains a crucial part of the marketing process, the fact that digital channels are now simply part of the fabric for B2B audiences means marketers have plenty of levers to pull to ensure that the investment in ‘meat space’ events continues to deliver. And creative strategists have plenty of opportunities to use content, social and mobile to create great digital customer experiences, using a live event as the base-plate.

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mobile, events. digtal, b2b

Every attendee has a broadcast studio in their pocket. What do you want them to do with it?

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We recently ran an audit of the various tactics, strategies and recommendations we’ve developed @ Ogilvy for using digital to improve the live event experience (for the audience) and performance (for the marketer). These 10 tips are a summary of what we found to be true and useful:

1. Set clear, realistic objectives for digital’s role in your event’s success.

Generally, an event is a response a business problem. That problem could be something like “Our user base is shrinking” or “We need to onboard a new brand acquisition” or “The C-suite don’t understand what our product or solution does.”

In each case, the problem rests with an audience or a target, and that’s where your objective-setting should start and end. Who are these people? What are they concerned about? What are they motivated by? And, critically, what is their relationship to digital?

Once you’ve got a handle on the audience, write down the thing that you want them to do. Do you want them to change their mind about something? Do you want them to give up some sort of profiling information? Do you want them to introduce your brand to one of their colleagues?

You might end up with a list of things you want to achieve – that’s good. Now you can assign them to digital, or the event itself, or another channel, like the sales force, or traditional PR. Get detailed and make sure you have the right tool for the job in each case. If your event is to launch a new product or solution, for example, and that’s an incredibly complex story, leave that part to the live event. Make it digital’s job to find the right people and encourage them to be there.

If you can only afford to run your live event once and your audience covers a much broader territory, make it digital’s job to broadcast as much of the event as possible to people who would like to come, but can’t physically be there. Think about what your audience use digital (mobile & social in particular) to do, and play to those strengths. Don’t ask digital to create trusted networks and thriving communities, when you know your audience prefer to make connections face-to-face.

Once you have that sorted, it’s time for a very serious and important question: Why on earth would they do that? What would I have to give them in exchange? What’s your answer when they ask you ‘What’s In It For Me?’

> Up next in this series: #2 How to Identify influencers & manage outreach

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About the Author: Barrie Seppings blogs about making things better – for clients, brands, agencies and humans. He is currently Regional Creative Director at Ogilvy Singapore and he likes boards surf, skate and snow. Follow him on the Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, or add him on Google+

About the images: all photographs used with the permission of Martin Ollman Photography. Contact Martin directly for rights and commissions.

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One of the coolest things I took away from SXSW was a renewed faith in people. Not just the people on the streets and in the bars, or the locals who took me on a tour of their very happening city, but the visionaries and thinkers who got up and showed us that it’s cool for people – and brands – to care deeply about stuff.

I was deeply impressed by Cameron Sinclair, the self-styled Chief Eternal Optimist for Architecture For Humanity and his take on open-sourced architecture. Fashion designer Marc Ecko became my new personal hero when he rocked a madcap Prezi to take us down the rabbit hole of ‘AWEthenticity’ to a place where we were confronted by the issue of state-sponsored violence in U.S. schools.

Science-fiction author and SXSW veteran Bruce Sterling saved the best for last, launching into an incendiary call-to-arms for millenials. Nothing short of generational change will suffice for a man who, by his own admission, is in the wrong generation.

I fulfilled a life-long dream and got to floor the accelerator of a brand-new Corvette, saw a ‘secret’ Foo Fighters performance at a the official closing party and will forever be seduced by the words ‘breakfast taco’. I’ve got my longhorns cap and my wife scored a shirt from the Driskill hotel. Austin, you were great.

But most importantly, I’ve got some very clear ideas about where our industry (or parts of it, at least) is heading and I’m lucky enough to be in a position to be a part of it. I’ve collected together a lot of the links and resources from SXSW and related coverage here and I thoroughly recommend you start working on your plans to get yourself to SXSW 20112.

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.

David Ogilvy is a pretty quotable guy, but certified Aussie Ad Legend John ‘Singo’ Singleton is not far behind. He often used to say that he wasn’t interested in being part of the advertising industry – he was interested in being part of the industries his clients were part of. Singo would have loved SXSW.

No matter what you – or your clients – are into, there was a panel/presentation/meet-up/workshop/demo devoted to exploring the future of it: Banking, Retail, Fashion, Television, Telecoms, Education, Employment, Architecture, Philanthropy, Latin America, Law Enforcement, Agriculture, War, Politics, Sex and, um, Zombies were all covered. And that was on day one.

The good news is that everything is about to be gamified. Or prototyped. Or democratised. Possibly all at the same time.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, where Ad Agencies learn “How To Become (Rich And) Famous.”

Stay tuned for the next episode when ad agencies learn “What Your Clients Are About To Become.”

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.


 In times gone by, the fastest way was to get three friends together (ensure at least one of them can drum), learn three chords, choose a faintly ridiculous name, and form a band. Now, you get three friends together (ensure at least one of them can code), put together a pitch deck, choose a faintly ridiculous name, and form a tech start up.

The SXSW festival is merely the peak of a year-round tech mountain that everyone in Austin seems to be climbing. I was lucky enough to spend some time with @equintanilla, a very switched on Austin local who gave me a glimpse of how the whole ecosystems works – from the 80 to 90 tech, internet marketing and web service firms that have sprung up in the last few years, to the University of Texas with its tech-heavy curriculum and its incubator  programs, the funneling of oil profits from Houston and Dallas into serious local VC firms – all the way up to the city and state officials who are determined to see that Texas does not participate in the recession that is clearly calcifying the rest of the United States. No wonder ad agencies are trying to work out how to think like software firms.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, where Ad Agencies learn “Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Yesterday’s Hot Technology.”

Stay tuned for the next episode when ad agencies learn “What The Future Of (Almost) Everything (Possibly) Looks Like”

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.

If you have any experience with mobiles, or South East Asia, or mobiles in South East Asia, you’ve probably come across QR codes several times over the past six or seven years and filed them quietly under ‘Only in Japan’. Get ready to take them out dust them off, as the general population starts coming to grips with the ease of ‘mobile bookmarks’ and people start dreaming up cool new uses for these pixilated black and white squares.

QR codes, and the companies hoping to ‘monetise’ them were at SXSW in full effect, reminding everyone that SMS started life as a test signal format for telco engineers and its current iteration is as a popular web service based on messages of 140 characters. You may have heard of it.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, where Ad Agencies learn “How To Throw A Party (Like You Mean Business).”

Stay tuned for the next episode when ad agencies learn more “How To Get (Rich And) Famous”

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.

 It seems you can make a lot of friends, and some business as well, by renting out a bar (or auditorium) and inviting everyone in town, a tactic employed literally dozens and dozens of times every single night. Apart from the decidedly rockstar party thrown by The Barbarian Group (featuring an indie-rock supergroup, with actor Michael Cera on bass), the really big money events were bankrolled by publishers, software houses and platforms.

Hosting company Rackspace went burlesque. Microsoft held a massive BBQ for start-ups & VCs, and a huge dance party for their latest browser upgrade – both on the same night. Tech blog Mashable took out a double-fronted, three story pub for two consecutive nights yet, in true publisher style, they sub-let the party to a slew of major sponsors. The Foursquare and Frog Design parties were easy to find (just look for the queues) but took hours to get into (just look at those queues!). The biggest event was the official closing party, thrown by Media Temple (mt) (yet another web hosting company), held at a 2,000 capacity open-air bar and featuring a live musical performance. By the Foo Fighters.

The money these parties must have burned through was simply astonishing, but they were packed to the gunwales with people pitching, angling, dealing, wooing, financing, networking and recruiting. It was just like being at the conference, only with a (free) drink in your hand.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, where Ad Agencies learn “How to Launch an App”

Here’s the next episode, where ad agencies learn “Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Yesterday’s Hot Technology.”

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.

 

It became quickly apparent that most start-ups, publishers and platforms believe the fast-track to revenue is to start working with big brands, and the agencies that service them. As the battle to impress marketers began in earnest, the downtown area of Austin devolved into a promotional gladiator pit and pretty much everything trended to free. Tacos, ribs, hot dogs, t-shirts, breakfasts, beers, wristbands, taxi rides, newspapers, web hosting, domain names, carry bags, portraits, test drives, tacos (again), energy drinks, coffee (none of it good), sunglasses and concert tickets were being palmed on every corner.

About the only freebie I failed to spot was a USB memory stick. Which is a pity, because there was a moment when I really, truly, needed one. The really striking thing was how few of the giveaways or promotional tricks were related to the positioning of the brand they were in the employ of, in any way shape or form. But what they lacked in brand synergy, they made up for in sheer volume.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, where Ad Agencies learn “Why you should keep on (or start) playing video games.”

You’re ready for the next episode, when we take lessons in “How to launch an App.”

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.

If there was one word getting thrown around with absolute abandon during SXSW 2011, it was gamification, a newish word to describe the addition of ‘game mechanics’ such as rewards, levels and status to the interaction between (in most cases) a brand and a consumer.
At least half a dozen panels were devoted to the topic, as well as the Keynote on day 3, where Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja of SCVNGR, tried to push through the hype and talk about ‘the game layer’ that is coming to, well, just about everything. In the aftermath, a lot of commentators pointed out that these ‘game mechanics’ are already well embedded in everything from Frequent Flyer programs to your driver’s licence, but that hasn’t stopped the gamification buzzwagon from picking up speed.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, where Ad Agencies learn “How to be useful”.

Watch the next episode, when ad agencies learn “How not to pay for anything” – a skill they are already pretty good at.

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.