SXSW Interactive Festival Day 3: Mr. Robot, Google, Refinery29 and more

Barkley associate content director Carolyn Cohen is blogging the SXSW Interactive festival for The Pitch.

There are buzzwords you hear again and again at a conference like this: engagement, content, innovate, disrupt, authenticity, … I could go on. But content storytelling is something that must come through in brand activations, panels, keynotes and the content from SXSW itself as a brand.

Here are my top-five content storytelling experiences from Sunday!

1. Street Teams
You can’t walk 20 feet without running into someone from a street team for a brand at SXSW. What many brands and companies don’t realize is how much the people themselves make a difference. A script is only helpful when you know the product you’re selling. With so many new apps and products in the already oversaturated state of SXSW, it counts to know what you’re talking about.

2. Take5 Instameet
One of Barkley’s clients, Take5, hosted an Instameet today with some great Instagram photographers. I tagged along, and as it was my first Instameet, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a nice surprise to meander the streets of Austin, looking for the most photogenic spots and having the group try their hand at snapping the perfect pic. 

3. Google’s talk on Improving Website Engagement
Google’s Stacey Garcia spoke on simple ways to find out how you can improve traffic, content, and quality of the engagements with websites. She gave the group many activities to talk about with your neighbor, such as discussing your favorite website, and then loading it up on your partner’s phone. How fast did it load? Could you find what you were looking for? Stacey said 61 percent of users will leave a mobile site within seconds if they can’t find what the need. It was an eye opener on why everyone needs to constantly be tweaking content strategies, and seeking new ways to improve the process. 

4. Philippe Von Borries of Refinery29
Popular lifestyle site Refinery29 was hosting both an activation and panels this week. I hopped into a very crowded session to learn about how we need to drop the term “millennials.” Philippe Von Borries pointed out that not everyone who falls into the much debated age group acts the same way, and that we need to focus on niches. Investing in the resources to create content and distribute it to smaller audience is the key to reaching them. 

5. Mr. Robot
I ended the afternoon at the huge Mr. Robot activation with a ferris wheel, carnival games and more. A few Barkley coworkers and I stepped into the photobooth for the fun shot above. The Mr.Robot piece tells a great story with each individual piece. Relevant scenes from the show played at each individual section of the activation, and it was made very simple to share your experience on social channels. On top of that, you can’t miss the ferris wheel in the middle of downtown. 

Thanks for following along with me this weekend, we’ll be sharing more through Wednesday!

 See more at Barkley’s blog and read Cohen’s first two dispatches here and here.

Categories: News