CJRW at SXSW Day 3: From the trade show floor to losing the term ‘Millennials’

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 143 views 

[email protected]: Day 3

Editor’s note: A team from Little Rock’s CJRW advertising agency is providing highlights of several conferences from SXSW to Talk Business & Politics.

Day Three of SXSWi brought with it more big events, big ideas and amazing tech demonstrations. We began the day at the Trade Show, learned about all the ways in which both New and Traditional Media are changing the face of presidential elections, met tech startups from all over the world, got a stern lesson on why we should all abandon the term “Millennial” to define a generation, and took some insights from a helpful session about turning your fan base into a community. Here are the high points from Sunday.

SXSW Trade Show
By: Josh Walker (@joshwalker1007)

There’s no better way to kick off another day of SXSWi than the opening of the Trade Show, a giant convention center full of booths featuring demos of the hottest new tech and digital innovations. From Samsung to NASA to a vast diversity of international tech startups, the Trade Show has a little bit of everything. And this year it had a lot of VR!

Eager to get in line early so as not to miss the world-class buffet of tech freebies, I made my way to the Trade Show without even stopping for a morning coffee. Caffeine it seems fails miserably in competition with straight adrenaline, of which I got a potent dose at the Samsung VR Demo. Seated four wide on a reactive, tilting platform, we squirmed and shifted ridiculously for the crowd while looping and plummeting down a real Six Flags rollercoaster in our own virtual world. The platform even simulated wind speeds as the endless cycle of users screamed pretty much throughout the duration of the event.

Another VR demo was far less thrilling but potentially more exciting for its implications to the way companies hold board meetings, collaborative sessions and presentations. Also developed by Samsung, the technology is called VR Board Meeting, and the demo was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The experience was like a big virtual, futuristic theater. Looking around this collaborative space, I could see and share graphic data with a user interface straight out of Hollywood Sci-Fi. The amount of data that can be visible and sorted at one time was intimidating. And though many of the features were automated for the sake of demonstration, the implications for sharing, previewing and collaborating on digital resources is very exciting. No more key words or clicking. Just look for what you want. William Gibson would be proud.

Besides VR, another popular tech category this year was custom-printed wearables. One with cool implications (and horrific preliminary procedures) was custom ear buds. Simply let a licensed doctor inflate a balloon in your ear canal and scan it, and you can leave with a set of attachments perfectly tailored to your ears. I made it all the way to the waiver for burst eardrums before my enthusiasm was overwhelmed by my sense of self-preservation. Wearables, it seems, have the potential to be revolutionary, but there is an invasive nature to some of these products that adopters (even eager ones like me) will need to overcome before making the leap.

Other exhibits rose to the level of amazing but offered only a glimpse of things to come. The MIT booth featured all sorts of revolutionary tech applications (and a full-length opera conducted and performed by students completely within the world of Minecraft). One MIT installation that drew a huge crowd was a robotic sculpture intended to demonstrate the process of parallel computing. From startups to the biggest tech companies in the business, the Trade Show was a representative slice of digital tech from all over the world.

Traditional’s and New Media’s Impact on the 2016 Election
By: Brian Kratkiewicz (@briankrat)

Cenk Uygur, founder and CEO of The Young Turks, Christina Bellantoni, Assistant Managing Editor/Politics at the Los Angeles Times, Jeanmarie Condon, Sr. Executive Producer of Content at ABC News and Shelley Venus, Executive Producer at @MicNews formed a panel that discussed “Traditional’s and New Media’s Impact on the 2016 Election” at SXSW.

The primary question that the panel discussion tried to answer was this: since the media landscape has shifted seismically since the 2012 presidential election, what is the real impact of traditional and digital media on the 2016 election?

Jeanmarie Condon of ABC discussed the fact that news distribution channels have evolved and have impacted the way that news is disbursed and disseminated to readers. ABC is now creating original news content for YouTube to reach Millennials and other audiences that access news through social media. She stated that ABC is “evolving the news delivery system.” She also touched on the fact that traditional broadcast networks have a huge archive that new digital media outlets do not have. They can reach into the past for content and repurpose and compare new and old stories with ease. All of this content can be used for ABC’s traditional and digital outlets. Condon also discussed the fact that user-generated content is changing news. Media companies can’t be everywhere at once. Phone-cam technology has changed news coverage. People now capture events that the media would never have in the past.

Christina Bellantoni from the Los Angeles Times discussed that they are now reaching out to Millennials by creating videos to run online that explain various issues in humorous ways. They explained the delegate process using Peeps candy and used Gummy Bears to explain the Iowa caucus. These videos are made specifically for Facebook but will also appear on LATimes.com. They also created a 70-second video to use online, explaining the entire Trump phenomenon. Bellantonni also noted that new media has the ability to redirect people to more and more content within the site they are reading or even on different sites. This exposes more and more people to different news stories than ever before. People can also share the stories they read, allowing people to be exposed to things they may never have found on their own in the past.

The bottom line? Digital media outlets have expanded the total number of news outlets covering the election. This expansion of outlets, combined with the fact that more news delivery vehicles, such as online video and social media, are now available, means that more people than ever are now being exposed to election news.

How to Cultivate Online Brand Ambassadors
By: Elizabeth Michael (@LizzyMichael)

At SXSW, any time you have an opportunity to hear from NASA, you take it. At “How To Cultivate Online Brand Ambassadors,” we heard from NASA, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Department of State and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on how brands can transition employees and audiences to advocates.

Panelists explained the difference between “owned” and “earned” brand ambassadors, and how to tap into both to make them your most trusted online spokespeople. To do this, brands need to optimize relationship building through personalization. At the heart of efforts needs to be an equal mix of high-quality content and first-rate customer service. By doing this, businesses may be able to tap into a previously untapped network of brand ambassadors.

Let’s Drop the Term “Millennials”
By: Zack Hill (@zackhill)

Few advertising buzzwords reach the level of ubiquity enjoyed by the term “Millennials.” Revered as the latest, greatest, most socially conscious, authenticity-driven sector ever to grace the market, Millennials are holders of the world’s buying potential and have clearly been tapped to save the world. Millennials, as we are told over and over, are extremely important. But, what exactly is a Millennial? Philippe von Borries, CEO and Co-Founder of Refinery29, the leading digital media company for millennial-minded women with a following of over 100 million monthly visitors, had a few suggestions.

The first of these suggestions is to drop the term “Millennial” to describe a generation. Depending on what media outlet you are reading at the time, a “Millennial” can be 20, 30, even 40 years old. There is no clear age or demographic which the media consistently describes as being unique to “Millennials.” The reason for this difficulty, explained Borries, is that “Millennial” is a mindset and should be defined as such. So, if it is not an age group, what characterizes the millennial mindset?

The “Millennial Mindset” consists of three components, according to Borries. These are Individuality, Global Connectedness and Purpose. Several new campaigns play into this mindset very well. Here are a few examples played during the session to help bring the point home.

Barbie | Imagine the Possibilities

Android | Rock, Paper, Scissors

The “Be together. Not the same.” tagline perhaps captures it best. The goal is to connect while retaining our individuality, our culture and our history.

One way to target the individualistic Millennial mindset is to tap into niche audiences. Niches are not necessarily small groups. They can be robust and global. They are communities built around the shared passions of diverse individuals all over the world. And they break down barriers. Consider the Bronies, a niche audience of men who like My Little Pony, or FloSports, a community of people passionate about underserved sports. Even more specific niche audiences are popping up all the time, and as Borries strongly advised, keeping your ear to the ground and identifying these niche markets is the key to tapping into the new “Millennial Mindset.”

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