If your brand is considering a presence at SXSW next March, believe it or not, now is the time to start planning.
Here are five things to consider:
1. Think about SXSW early and often
Sure, SXSW is 202 days away. But hotels are already getting sold out and travel is being planned. The point is that now is the time to start thinking about your plan and activation, looking into venues and developing your strategy.
2. There are more places than ever to plug in
With new additions to the Interactive path (now including Sports, Create, Good and Style) – and to SXSW Film, Music and EDU – there are multiple fronts where your brand can have a presence. Remember that interactive is typically the most crowded space, so don’t forget about the not as obvious opportunities. It could be a great, unexpected way to show up differently.
3. Provide value, not noise
SXSW is large. And noisy. It’s filled with brands that are trying to out scream one another for attention. And because of that, they all get lost in the shuffle. Ask yourself, how can I make the SXSW-goers experience better? In other words, don’t ask what they can do for you, ask what you can do for them. How can you be a beacon in a sea of sameness? The brands that help make the festival experience even better (instead of trying to compete with it) are the ones that win hearts, minds and ink.
4. Think about before, during and after SXSW
Most people are laser focused on the 10 days of the festival (or maybe even just the 4 days of interactive). When you’re developing your plan, it’s important to include a “build” that leads towards the festival, engaging influencers and SXSW-goers long before they step foot in Austin. And after they go home with Texas-sized memories in their heads, how will you keep the conversation going? SXSW isn’t a moment in time, it’s a state of mind!
5. Be targeted, strategic and scrappy
With the thousands upon thousands of people in Austin during SXSW, it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to reach them all. Focus on the people who matter most to you and your brand, and develop a strategy to reach them directly. Also,know that many people come to SXSW to embrace serendipity, so be flexible and scrappy on the ground.
Image credit: SXSW/Diego Donamaria