Three Lessons in Brand Marketing & Activation from SXSW

chevy sxsw brand
Chevy at SXSW. Courtesy

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!

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iPad Mini Coming NEXT TUESDAY! Here’s what we know…

Here’s one of my favorite games to play as a tech reporter: decipher Apple’s invitations to events and look for clues! If you had any doubt that the iPad Mini is going to be announced next Tuesday, October 23rd, then check out the latest invite that appeared in my box this morning:

Apple isn’t a company that plays with words for no reason. When they say they have a “little more” to show me, that’s a pretty strong hint they’re talking about a “little” device, a.k.a. the iPad Mini.

Do you want to be among the first in the world to find out about the iPad Mini? We’ll be running a liveblog on October 23rd, breaking Apple’s news as it happens. If you sign up for my newsletter today, I’ll drop you an email just as Apple kicks off the event so you can tune in and find out what’s going on!
iPad Mini Mockup by 9to5mac

Why an iPad Mini? After all, isn’t the original iPad supposed to be the “perfect size” according to Steve Jobs? Frankly, yes, the iPad is pretty much as close to a perfect tablet in terms of size and weight that any company can make today. Here’s what Steve said before he passed about smaller tablets:

“The reason we [won’t] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit [a lower] price point. It’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company, we think about the software strategies first.”

But Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire have proven over the last year that a smaller tab, something in a size between an eReader and a full-sized Tablet, can offer a worthwhile experience at some really exciting price points. Some feel like these smaller tablets offer more than a taste of both worlds. While there’s no substitute for a full-size screen, a smaller iPad that can run all of the same apps as its big brother? Now THAT’S exciting!

So, the iPad Mini is coming (or is it the Lil’ iPad? iPad Nano? iPad Junior? LOL) but what will it be? Read on to find out!  Read More