SMC Chicago and SXSW 2013 Redux

smcchicago-march-audienceWhat really happens at SXSW? It depends on who you ask.

Everyone’s perspective is different and that’s why on March 26 SMC Chicago invited four panelists, with varying views, to talk about their SXSW experience. 

For me, the panel moderator [and SMC Chicago founder], the SMC Chicago community conversation became a convincing argument to seriously consider grabbing a SXSW14 pass when they go on sale in August. Are you planning to go next year?

SMC Chicago SXSW Redux Event Recording

Thanks to Grant Crowell for recording the event.

SXSW 2014 Dates

Interactive: March 7–11
Film: March 7–16
Music: March 11–16

SXSW is a festival, conference, gathering, concert, party – and whatever else you make of it – that takes place in Austin every March. After you watch CNN’s SXSW special, you may find yourself thinking about who you want to hang out with when you get there.

Two SMC Chicago SXSW Redux Replays

A first-time SMC Chicago attendee, Rae Guimond, wrote about the event on her blog.

Read Social Media Club Chicago Presents “SXSW Redux” hosted by Draftfcb to a Sold-Out Crowd.

Thanks to Rae for giving me permission to include a few highlights here.

Emerging Internet of Things

IBM’s Ed Brill (@edbrill) shared IBM’s SXSW story highlighting their focus on brands, brand apps, and marketing social practice. IBM is looking at the second wave of mobile marketing as bringing consumer mobile advertising past the initial retail store front to the consumer at the department or favorite item and sale pricing level. Lizz Kannenberg (@lizzkannenberg) and Melissa Pierce (@melissapierce) echoed this highly customized advertising and device interconnectivity. Also, Kannenberg cited the importance of getting to people at the right time with the right brand value message: “You need to offer something people need and give them an experience with your brand,” she stated—needs matter. At SXSW, Kannenberg thought Uber (Uber Basic Pedicabs or UberX Tesla/Rolls-Royce premium rides), Chevrolet (Chevy Experience), and Oreo (think a giant plush Oreo-man and free Oreos everywhere) accomplished this very well by meeting attendees’ needs at the right time with memorable brand experiences.


You can catch up on Melissa Pierce’s #RVSX experience at Already, she is planning for her SXSW 2014 trip. This long-time SXSW participant traveled from Chicago to Austin in a bus loaded with a gaggle of artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, and internetters to document SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film . Her crew’s reports showcase the kind of innovative branding, avant-garde sponsorship, and social media hijinks many in the industry talk about but never fully implement effectively. What’s more, their #disruption RV experiment caught CNN’s eye without even trying.

Not Just Spring Break for Nerds

A 14-year veteran of SXSW, Chris Miller (@scubachris) has seen this “Spring Break for Nerds” grow in attendance to almost 30,000 people. Miller shared that SXSW Interactive attendance was up 25% this year, and this number included an increased international population from places such as Brazil, South Africa, and Canada. All of the panel members agreed that continuity and collaboration across SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, and SXSW Music continue to increase each year—more than ever, brands are merging all three platforms in compelling ways.

Collin Canright, an early SMC Chicago supporter, also covered the event.

Here’s an excerpt about the collabortion trend. Read Collin’s post about SXSW Redux and SMC Chicago.

Collaborate and converse. Panelists remarked on increased collaboration among the digital, film, and music disciplines. Brands sought to collaborate with technology vendors, and the whole event (I have never been) sounds like one big conversation among nerds morphing into another among hipsters, with the two types blending as life becomes digital while retaining the human yearning to connect face to face.

SXSW 2013 Retakes

In researching for my role as the SMC Chicago event moderator, I found Altimeter’s Take: The Technologies That Matter from SXSW 2013. In the post, Chris Silva and Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analysts at Altimeter Group, observed these major SXSW themes:

  • hardware ruled
  • Android curiosity is swaying iPhone users [I feel that!]
  • mobile enterprise was a star and
  • brands and their vendors were out in full force

They also categorized technologies that matter by experiment, invest or ignore.

One of the ones to watch? Google Glass

Chris and Jeremiah say, “We’re bullish on Google Glass and, while we’ve not yet received our Explorer units to demo, we think the market will be very receptive to technology that augments daily tasks and does it in a lightweight way. We see a market emerging for AR-centric content and interactions and brands should be ready to play.”

Final Reflection – 9 Key Takeaways from #SXSW 2013 — #SXSWOgilvy from Social@Ogilvy is a quick flip through; the slides convey the top themes.

Did you go to SXSW? What trends do you see that will shape the future?
And, a question Jeff Willinger would want to ask if you did go: What was the best party?

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