Interaction and PR relevance at #SXSW
It’s always a pleasure to be back in Texas, particularly when there’s a tech event to attend, so we were thrilled to attend SXSW with our client Makeblock this year.
Austin has, for the last few years, been emerging as a solid favorite for start ups in the tech industry, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Low taxes and cost of living, a Silicon Valley culture, and a very open and friendly community make it a haven for tech lovers. (I’m personally a huge fan of Austin hospitality, and I’m already looking forward to my next fish taco fix!).
Having the huge draw of SXSW brings Austin to the forefront of the music, film, and tech industries during the month of March, with SXSW Interactive offering attendees the chance to see some of the most exciting innovations in robotics, design, IoT and more.
The first day of SXSW Interactive played host to the ‘Create’ exhibition, and of course featured a keynote by none other than Barack Obama, who called on leaders in tech to join him to “start coming up with new platforms, new ideas across disciplines, and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems we’re facing today.”
One big takeaway from Interactive was the importance of, well… takeaways. Companies such as Sparkfun had a station where people could create and personalize their own scrolling LED lanyards, which were hugely popular. Our very own Makeblock offered people the chance to have their doodles and sketches burnt with a lasered onto wood blocks, and another stand had an entire booth with furniture that you could color in and draw all over. Needless to say, I spent a little too much time on that one during my breaks, and came back with a neckerchief covered in my garish scribbles.
PR relevance, not trendiness
This got me thinking – what experiences or takeaways should we be providing to people that delivers more than a simple USB or business card? Much like a lot of current VR campaigns, companies can often miss the mark by shoehorning a trend into what they deliver, as opposed to it being intrinsic to their brand. Basic stationery from an advanced technology company, a keychain from a robotics manufacturer, a tote bag from a mobile game – what is the relevance? These things are a nice to have, but the opportunity to excel is in giving people something they want, could find useful, and will remember your brand for.