South by Southwest, especially the interactive portion of the festival, is all about brands. They’re there to get your attention, either as sponsors, party hosts, service providers or more. The tough part is competing for eyeballs in a space crowded with other brands out to do the exact same thing. Sure, that’s true in the marketplace all the time, but SXSW is a distilled, concentrated version of the attention problem. We were there, we saw what worked and what didn’t, and we’ve got a couple takeaways you can apply to any brand marketing opportunity for your small business:
1. Have something to say
The most successful companies at SXSW timed their participation with a major product, app or feature announcement. It’s not enough to show up: there’s got to be something to catch everyone’s attention. That’s especially true if your audience knows you already: giving them something new gives them another reason to pay attention to you again!
Believe it or not, there’s a new social network coming up that’s already popular enough to deserve your attention. It’s called Pheed, and it combines some of the best features of Tumblr and Twitter to create a real-time media stream (as if you weren’t surrounded by enough media already).
Like Twitter or Tumblr, the way you see Pheed content is by following others: when you sign up, Pheed will offer you choices about who to follow and ask you to pick 3 to get started. The content those users create is called their Pheed. (In case you’re curious, I chose users “Airstreamin” “Mulletvision” and “Chef Pasquale.” Fun.) The content I see so far is super heavy on pictures, complete with watermarks of the user’s url at the bottom. Pheed gives your the option to copyright your images and can automatically add the watermark, a great idea for both advertising and to help solve the ongoing image attribution drama that plagues just about every social site on the web. It’s also constantly streaming in real-time, and between the emphasis on speed and the visual, it’s clear this is not the right forum for your 3,000 word thinkpiece on the state of…anything.