SXSW: 6 Ingredients for Brand Success

1. Perfection faux pas
Our work should never be perfect because we’re not. Content that’s polished doesn’t sound human. Strategy that’s static is stale. Buzzfeed champions ‘incomplete’ and evolving content because iteration driven by audience insight is the key to impact.



obama2. Content is king but contextualised content is president
Content is meaningless unless it seamlessly integrates with the user. The power players in content creation are super sensitive to user experience. Case in point: on creating content for the Apple Watch, Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore said the intimacy of the device demands more intimate content and reduced notifications.



authenticity3. A fresh look at authenticity
‘Authenticity’: a word that’s overused and under-defined. But bloggers tempted to sell out for big brand bucks must always ask themselves: “Would I go into a store and buy their product with my own money?” For brands engaging with influencers, work with influencers who already love your brand and don’t force your creative. They know what works for their audience better than you do.


4. Time as a metric
Buzzfeed spoke about the importance of measuring time when evaluating success. After all, the more you read the more likely you are to share. Users that ‘share’ spend on average 68% more time on a Buzzfeed page. So the next time you’re setting KPIs for the ‘owned’ element of a campaign, don’t just focus on visits, reach, impressions and engagements – think ‘time’.


5. Creative emotional experiences or art
Brave brands are partnering with artists to tell their stories without being overly strict on brief or branding. Lincoln Motors’ work with film maker Eliot Rausch is sharable, highly relevant and resonates brilliantly with their millennial audience and the way they live their lives in a creative, engaging format. Their agency pushes them way beyond their comfort zone, and in the words of Lincoln’s brand manager “if you’re making me feel uncomfortable, you’re probably doing something right.”


6. The right tools for the right job
Al Jazeera Plus arms its reporters with 3 iPhones and rigs to produce and relay real time coverage of breaking news stories. Filming on phones and sending content for review and edits not only makes reporters feel part of the action, but also gives them agility with the content they publish that is consistent with the users who watch.

The collective insights represented in this post are from Abby Guthkelch, the head of digital in our London office, Andrew Jennings, an associate digital director in our London office and Christine Dobbin, a digital strategist in our London office.