Day 2 of SXSW introduced me to a really important concept, the line buddy (#linebuddies). For many of the popular sessions here, people begin queuing up over an hour early. I did this to see my favorite podcasters, the @PodSaveAmerica crew. While in line, I began a conversation with two very different women who were attending SXSW (#SouthBy) for very different reasons. One was a mother of 3 from Los Angeles, who was a self-admitted member of the 1%. She was in town for the startup challenge over the weekend, where she saw pitches from over 80 startups. The other lady in line was a thirty-something tech worker from Denver who was here for her 5th SXSW.
For over an hour with my line buddies, I had fascinating conversations on everything from healthcare to homelessness and gentrification. I admit, when I initially met the Los Angeles woman, I had preconceived notions of what she was going to be like. But being in line with her allowed me to learn more, hear her story and see past my initial impressions. It made me realize how important it is not only to help people tell their stories through content, but to really listen to those stories and see beyond the book’s cover.
I learned a lot in that hour in line, made a couple of new friends, and looked forward to my next encounter with #linebuddies.
Sharing Stories in Person
On the second day of SXSW Interactive I met a variety of attendees through networking sessions on topics from Virtual Reality (VR) to Women in Technology.
I was never sure what I would have in common with the people I met at these networking events. Sometimes it took questions from quite a few angles to identify a topic, but I consistently walked away with a new observation, idea or connection from each conversation.
At one meetup @jenleereeves showed me a glitter-shooting prosthetic arm designed by her 10-year old daughter, Jordan, and shared the inspirational story behind Project Unicorn. I appreciate that I can continue to virtually follow the team through media engagements and will always be even more connected to them because of our in-person discussion.
Telling Stories to Land Sales
It’s hard to know what to expect when you go to a SXSW panel moderated by father and son Donny and Don Osmond — one a famous entertainer, the other in the business marketing industry.
Was it going to be all celebrity fluff or were there going to be nuggets that I could take away from “15,000 Year Old Marketing Strategy:Why It Works”?
Not to poke fun at Osmond Sr., but the #StoneAgeMarketing session was less about his 50+ years in the entertainment biz (he will correct you that it’s precisely 54 years, “but who’s counting?”) and more about the tenets of stories that have stood the test of time.
CMO Lead of Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft, Jeff Marcoux helped ground the conversation right away— marketing’s purpose is to drive revenue.
Stories build an emotional connection and with repetition empower others to tell your brand’s story so that people are compelled to choose you. Set about to craft stories around the powerful emotional connections your product enables.
A neuroscientist on the panel backed the science behind the strategy. Memory and motivation to buy are stimulated by emotions in the brain, something called“sticky memories.” Marcoux gave the example of Budweiser’s origin story for its SuperBowl 2017 commercial. Swapping out puppies and horses in favor of its origin story allowed Budweiser to tell the authentic journey of its brand. A story that almost compelled a committed Northwest craft beer drinker to try it again.