CJRW@SXSW: Day 1
True to form, the first day of South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) was packed full of experts on everything from the obscure legalities of online copyright infringement, the ethics of user-interface design, to the latest techniques for dissecting big data. Also, Bret Bielema was there. A team from Little Rock’s CJRW advertising agency is providing highlights of several conferences to Talk Business & Politics. Here is their Day 1 overview.
Virtual Football with Bret Bielema
By: Zack Hill (@zackhill)
University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema made an appearance at SXSW interactive. George Schroeder, sports writer from USA Today, and Derek Belch, founder and CEO of STRIVR, joined him to discuss how both college and NFL football teams are utilizing Virtual Reality (VR) technology.
Belch’s technology was born out of Stanford University where he once was a Graduate Assistant on the football team but quickly learned his future was in VR technology. Belch explained, “The goal is to build mental strength and decision making through real-life scenarios, not to take a physical toll on an athlete.” His company has more than doubled in size over the last year, but one of his first customers was Bret Bielema and the U of A.
Bielema explained why he loves the VR and how U of A utilizes this technology to take practice beyond the field. The low impact and mental focus element are just a few of the reasons he’s a fan. It’s also the fact that it allows players, especially backups, to take reps with any NCAA limitations. “We converted a press room into a virtual reality room essentially. This allows QBs and other players move around and do some footwork while wearing the headset,” said Bielema. He also went on to explain that this doesn’t just apply to quarterbacks. He loves to “help the big guys” too by using the technology for linemen and others.
The STRIVR virtual reality technology utilizes the Oculus Rift and is a merge of 360 videos with VR interfaces and overlays. He couldn’t give too many details, but he did note that the company now works with 14 college teams and 20 NFL teams, and he hopes to expand to more due to their recent appearance at the NFL Combine. One of their largest supporters is Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals, who, ironically, had one of the best years of his career this past season.
Bielema also had a key player, Brandon Allen, who showed huge improvement throughout this past season. He didn’t give VR all the credit, but did say that he knows it played a role. Like Bielema, we at CJRW are also very excited for this technology and what the future applications could be. Having worked with Arkansas Parks and Tourism on some 360 video/VR projects, we know that there are potential applications in this area.
Ten Big Legal Mistakes Made by Internet Companies
By: Josh Walker (@joshwalker1007)
An essential part of starting any business is creating a brand, and most brands begin with a logo, preferably something that is memorable and unique. But how do you really know if a logo is unique? On a local level, this process is not so difficult. The key consideration is that two businesses competing for customers in the same area should not have brand identities that can easily be confused with one another, such as a similar name or logo. If they do, generally whatever business had it first will prevail in a court of law.
What many new businesses do not consider, however, is what might happen when your business grows exponentially in a short time, and all of a sudden you are competing on a national or international level. When this occurs, trademark laws play a much more significant role, and your brand, something in which your business is likely heavily invested, both financially and often emotionally, can be forced back to the drawing board by a pre-existing and now overlapping competitor.
Another task that every business must face is securing the online real estate needed to support their brand, like a domain name, unique Facebook URL or Twitter handle. Just like logos and taglines, these digital marks can infringe on the trademarks of larger competitors that may only become competitors years or more after your business is actually formed. Starting from scratch with a brand, after years of building name recognition, can be a fatal blow to a business. Doing your due diligence and future-proofing your brand identity can be the deciding factor in the longevity of your business.
One solution suggested by the panel with which we fully agree is the importance of unique brand identities over descriptive brand identities. To use an analogy, consider the difference between Apple and an imaginary company called Quality Personal Computers. On one hand, Quality Personal Computers tells the consumer exactly what to expect, while Apple tells the consumer absolutely nothing about the nature of its company. On the other hand, Apple is unique because it is NOT descriptive, and the chance for a future conflict with a competitor is far less likely with a unique brand, whether or not it relates anything at all about the product or service it provides. Keep this in mind for logos, domain names or any other aspect of a brand that might infringe on another’s trademark.
Innovative Brands Using Data-Driven Marketing Recap
By: Elizabeth Michael (@LizzyMichael)
At SXSW, buzzwords fly around like Delta mosquitos. If you are lucky, you may even be at a session when a buzzword is coined for the first time. Big data, geotargeting, predictive analytics, consumer journey, authenticity… the session entitled “Innovative Brands Using Data-Driven Marketing” explained how agencies, consumer packaged goods companies, fashion brands and even mom-and-pop operations are using big data to make real connections with consumers using all of the latest buzzwords in the book.
Gail Horwood, Vice President of worldwide digital strategy for Johnson & Johnson, suggested that big data really needs to be “small data,” in that marketers need to simplify big data to what is relevant to the consumer journey. Marketers need to listen, segment and define their consumer. By doing this, marketers can break big data into smaller chunks of digestible data.
That data will tell the marketers on what platforms consumers will be receptive to the brand’s message, in what context, and at what time. On different platforms, consumers may be more receptive to different messages. By analyzing “small data,” marketers will create more meaningful campaigns that build meaningful relationships. The campaign may be small or “micro” in scale, but it can still carry a larger campaign theme or brand voice.
Internet of You – Wearable and Underskin Marketing
By: Brian Kratkiewicz (@briankrat)
Wearable technology now has the ability to track and record everything that you do. Mobile screens, smart watches, fitness trackers, connected glasses, earphones, even clothing and athletic shoes have all become connected, tracking your time performing an activity, activity levels, sleep levels, distances, etc …
Alanna Cotton, the VP of Marketing for Samsung, stated that Samsung’s goal for wearable technology like their new Gear S2 watch is to make life easier for consumers by keeping them seamlessly connected in real-time to things such as phone calls, texts, news and information, restaurants, ride services like Uber, sports scores as well as tracking fitness activity levels. The goal isn’t to just provide these capabilities to consumers but to delight and excite them in the process. Samsung research shows that wearable devices are the number-two-ranked technology item that consumers want after smartphones.
The Corporate Vice President of Apps & Services for Microsoft, Thom Gruhler, discussed the fact that hardware, service and wearable technology are converging. Wearable is here now. Things are changing and they are never going to go back to what they were. Gruhler presented the new Microsoft HoloLens technology that allows consumers to interact with media products like never before. It is the first fully untethered, holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high definition holograms in your world. The product is headset/goggle technology. There is a computer actually within the goggles so there is no need to be connected to other devices.