Mindshare@SXSWi: Nightcap, Day 1

By Aydin Abdollahi, Account Manager, Mindshare Spotlight, Mindshare North America

SXSW 2017 is starting to introduce us to new types of technology: virtual reality, augmented realty, social media connectivity, and the Internet of Things…

Okay, obviously I’m kidding. Bad joke? Maybe. Did you smirk or smile in your head? Hopefully.

Anyway: day one of SXSW 2017 seemed to be picking up where things left off in 2016 – thus far, the discussion topics are around the advanced technology areas that I mentioned above, except it’s another year deeper into the conversation around their applicability and practicality, which mean everything to marketers.

Day one had an interesting start with the Interactive opening speaker, U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Unexpectedly, he didn’t actually talk about politics…at least not directly. Rather, he spent the first 30 minutes of his session talking about “love”: the love that Americans need to have for each other and how the love for this country has allowed us to overcome obstacles. He spoke about the pros and cons of social media but the essence of his speech was that tolerating each other is not enough! We must love as that is the emotion that drives empathy, teamwork, and more.

Another notable session was held by YouTube influencer and Adobe Creative Resident, Sara Dietschy. She focused on how to leverage various social media platforms to build brands, be it at the corporate level or a personal level. One of her key points: she stressed how important it is for brands to showcase their own “behind the scenes” to help build an identity and create a sense of community. Lastly, I found one of the initiatives she mentioned very impressive: HBO’s Game of Thrones hosted a Facebook Live session that instructed participants to leave comments using the word “fire” in order to melt the block of ice that would show the premiere date of the show’s next season once melted. I love it!

In the midst of today’s sessions, a couple members of our team also interviewed The New York Times’ Marc Lavallee, Executive Director, Story[X]. You can check out his interview with Mindshare on the blog later this weekend, but one of the highlights is his insights on what brands at SXSW should consider as they see the prevalence of political speakers and sessions around using technology for social good.

A couple more highlights:

– From a non-marketing perspective, the folks from NASA and National Geographic’s series, “Mars” led a session talking about robots, microbes and humans, and how they plan on getting to Mars. They’ve actually already mapped the planet out and named the various regions. It was fascinating.

– If you get a chance this weekend, definitely make sure you stop by Mashable House at SXSW. It’s fantastic – they took cultural adaptability to another level, including a photo booth where you could recreate your own version of the Beyonce Instagram record-breaking pregnancy photo.

Stay tuned for more Nightcaps each day as Mindshare takes on SXSWi.