SXSW – It’s a Wrap

SXSW 2014 RecapSXSW, the annual music, film and interactive conference and festival, took place in Austin, Texas from 7 to 16 March.

Ketchum and Zócalo had 40 people on the ground, reporting back all of the information that everyone needed to know. Here are the key trends for consumers and brands that we spotted during the event.

#1 What should I wear today?

As the Internet becomes more wearable, we need new methods of interacting with content. Users don’t want to walk around with their hands glued to their glasses or talking out loud to engage with visuals.

It didn’t take long for users to become familiar with touchscreen devices and the pinch, pull and swipe method of interaction on them. Gesture navigation, via touchless interaction, is next.

Source: Stephen Strong, The Wearable Mouse

#2 Machines say get fit, eat less

Connected devices give a more complete picture of our whole health with the goal of actually keeping people out of hospital. In time, with the help of connected fitness, diseases can better be prevented before they arise.

Source: Tim Weinheimer, Shaping Healthy Behaviors Through Connected Fitness

#3 3D Printing heads to every home

3D printing isn’t just for big companies to prototype their new products, or for engineers to craft models before building the real thing.

Manufacturers showed off $1,000 products that are clearly aimed at the small company, serious hobbyist and even arts-and-crafts enthusiasts. And there are kits that you can build yourself.

Source: Ron Surfield, 3D Printing Goes Mainstream at SXSW

#4 Tell me a story

Humans of New York is followed by four million people and is a great example of a multi-platform content strategy. The success of Humans of New York has little to do with the photos, rather everything to do with the frequency of his updates and the dual storytelling power of words and pictures.

Source: Michael O’Brien, The Right Content

#5 Go local, or go home

Content is still king, but getting content to the people right when they want and need it is taking on a whole new level of importance and value.

Up and coming companies like MaxPoint (hyperlocal display advertising), Yodle (a local small business marketing platform), Verve Mobile (using location data to target specific advertising), and ThinkNear are coming on fast and strong. And don’t forget the soon to re-discovered Yelp and Groupon.

Source: Paul M. Rand, Go Local or Go Home: Keeping an Eye Out for Localization at SXSW

#6 Mind your data

Privacy was hot at SXSW, with video link-ups including whistle-blower Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

Consumers need to be mindful of data collection by social networks, such as Facebook and Google. Brands should reassure consumers that their data is safe.

Developers need to make it easier for consumers to protect their data. The next generation of apps should have end-to-end encryption designed in.

Source: The Guardian, Julian Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to be a rogue agency’

#7 SXSW tourism

The SXSW organizers should be concerned about the event’s brand identity. Big brands are taking over. The younger community finds it harder and harder to afford to visit. This might be the reason that we haven’t seen any big breakouts in 2014.

Source: Andrada Morar, Sprinting through SXSW

For further information on any of these trends please head to the SXSW page on