Every March, the worlds of music, film and interactive converge on the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals in Austin, Texas. We’ve been making the pilgrimage for the past couple of years, but 2013 is shaping up to be a DEFCON 1 kind of awesome.
Two of our projects have been named finalists in the SXSW Interactive Awards. The competition “uncovers the best new digital work, from mobile and tablet apps to websites and installations, while celebrating those who are building tomorrow’s interactive trends.”
Our rebranding project for The University of Alabama’s business school is nominated in the educational resource category. We’re up against Harvard there, which we enjoy. And our “Secretly Awesome” work for Mobile Bay was picked in the business category, with some pretty stout competition.
Other big names in the show include Lego, Nissan, CNN, Google, Smithsonian, OK Go and NASA. The entire Red Square team is humbled to have work featured alongside these great brands.
We’ll be in Austin for the goings on and will provide you the full hookup on our learnings. That’s a promise. We also promise to send each of you a piece of any trophy we win. We’re sharers like that.
As the web has evolved from 1.0 to 2.0 to whatever point oh we currently reside, the maxim “the consumer is king” has begun to ring truer and truer. When the Earth cooled, brands could simply pound one-way broadcast messages into peoples’ minds. “We’re not selling enough?! Increase the frequency!”
Then, the world was given microphones in the form of social media. Communication between brands and people became a two-way channel. “They can talk about us, and they have an audience?!”
Now, add another layer of complexity: People can buy anything from anywhere at anytime. “They came into our store, but purchased from our competitor on their mobile phones?!”
The year is 2012. And retail will never be the same again.
Survival and future success lies in a combination of old-world common sense and new-world functionality. Go back to your original brand voice. What is your core philosophy? Why did you start your business to begin with? Think about it. Now figure out how to replicate that voice and story, intelligently, across platforms. Work to motivate people to engage and become a part of the brand.
As it relates to commerce, if people are buying online or from mobile devices in your store, resist the urge to fight it. Just as you’ve had to cede total control of your brand communication, you must loosen your grip on the purchase process. Take this leap: Make it easier for your customers to buy whatever, wherever, whenever. Revamp your online store and get moving on mobile commerce. Cross promote your various sales channels in-store.
Lastly, don’t forget that your customers are people. Your brand exists in the context of their busy lives. Give them a reason to like your brand and make it easy for them to buy. This takes guts, but people will love you for it.
Google’s Think Education 2012 put it best, “Technology and innovation are propelling Education into a period of revolutionary change.” We’d like to enter into evidence our latest digital work.
Educator Studio is an online community for professional educators—a place to find and share relevant lesson plans in the classroom. It’s an inspiring tool for educators to provide the best learning experience for today’s students. No #2 pencils required.
Hi Internet friends. According to our calculator watches, the most glorious time of the year is upon us. That’s right. South by Southwest (SXSW). This year, we’re doing it up big. In addition to sending a small army of producers, designers and creative directors to Austin, we’re partnering with Adrants, one of our favorite blogs, to cover the events of the conference.
For the uninitiated, SXSW has become the official cultural launching pad for all things digital, film and music. The learning is massive. Here’s a good overview of the brain food we’ll be gorging ourselves on for the next couple of weeks. Be sure to check back with us and Adrants for thought nuggets and the occasional random photo. We look forward to over-sharing.
Willingness to experiment is a key to success with digital and social media. Sure, there are emerging fundamentals, which (surprise!) mirror closely those of all media. Chief among these is the principle that people respond when something breaks from the center of the bell curve and delivers the unexpected.
Our own Facebook ads—a nice collection of them reside here—have been thusly treated as an experiment. We’ve been lucky enough to receive a good deal of press for our efforts, and now we’ve been named a finalist in the OMMA Awards for Online Advertising Creativity. Specifically, in the “creative use of facebook” category. Other OMMA finalists include the likes of Google, Disney, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, DreamWorks, Volkswagen, HBO, JetBlue and several other big companies my mother has heard of.
Our agency is humbled and honored to be mentioned in the same show as these brands. Winners will be announced in September in New York. Thanks to everyone for playing along with us.