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SXSW Panel Recap: Brands as Entertainers, FOMO, and Interacting with Legal

By , March 12, 2012

It’s Day 4 of SXSW Interactive, and sessions continue to generate ideas, insight, and debate about all things digital. We’re covering top panels relevant to social media marketers. (If you missed our wrap-up of Friday, March 9, visit it here.)

Entertain or Fail: Brands a the New Publishers


Theme: To keep up with consumers in social media, brands must learn to create content that resonates with them.

Key Takeaways:

•    Often times brands are afraid. They are able to produce exceptional products, but get hung up when it comes to marketing and engaging with consumers in social media. But brands should do more than just make a product. They should be inspiring and entertaining.
•    We’re moving toward a feed-based system, and companies will have an increasingly tough time squeezing in overly promotional content. For this reason, brands have to be entertainers.
•    There’s inertia when it comes to brand marketing; it’s easy to continue on the same promotions and media buying paths. Moving away from what’s familiar and into spending money on trying to do something for your audience isn’t yet in the methodology.
•    Think of marketing as a programming channel.
•    When producing content, audience is the primary focus. Ask: What would my audience love?
•    Great content published on a persistent basis takes an enormous amount of work, but smart brands understand it can have a powerful impact.
•    Tips for taking action: Take small steps to secure small wins.

Standing room only at 'Entertain or Fail: Brands As the New Publishers'

Bridging the Lawyer-Social Media Manager Divide


Theme: Attorney June Casalmir in Consumer & Marketing Practices for Sprint Nextel and Richard Pesce, Sr. Mgr, Social Media & Digital Comm at Capital One described how social media professionals and the legal teams at their companies can close the communications gap to ensure that social media programs stay in compliance with the law.

Key takeaways:

•    The legal issues related to social media span a variety of topics, including copyright, disclosure, contests and sweepstakes, and specific mandates for highly regulated industries.  All are examples of why social and legal teams need to closely collaborate.
•    Bridging the divide between legal and social media teams largely begins with education. Rather than starting the conversation on the defensive, educating the legal team on your objectives for social media will help them understand what you’re trying to do and how they can help you achieve it within the confines of the law.
•    Learning the basic concepts of the legal issues commonly faced can go a long way toward making collaboration with legal effective. Knowing the basics in advance lets you understand how to build campaigns.
•    Bring in legal team early in the process to prevent a “no” before launch. Casalmir stressed that sometimes legal says no to social because they do understand what social teams are trying to do and are protecting the company. But many hate to say no.
•    How can you help bridge the divide? Be transparent and open with your legal contacts, and educate them on not just your initiatives, but social in general. Come to the table with alternate solutions.
•    Training can play a big role. Rotating brown bag lunches where each side teaches the other about pertinent issues helps educate on both the law and the social media space.

FOMO: How Can Brands Tap into Fears of Missing Out


Theme: FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out – is the feeling of anxiety of missing out on events or being in the know about news. It has become exponentially more relevant as people are sharing their experiences in social media. Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting at JWT, explained how brands can build on this concept.

Key Takeaways:
•    Although everyone is susceptible, millennials are the most susceptible to FOMO; 50% say they have felt left out after reading posts on Facebook.
•    Companies have tapped into FOMO for decades. Now, they are getting creative with the various approaches to using this angle.
•    Smirnoff’s Nightlife Exchange and Heineken’s “Sunrise Belongs to Moderate Drinkers” campaigns tap into consumer FOMO. Others are using messaging that downplays this, calling for consumers to slow down, relax, and put FOMO worries aside.
•    Mack laid out the ways brands can tap into FOMO. They can 1) escalate feelings of FOMO 2) Offer exclusive, unique experiences likely to inspire FOMO in non participants 3) encourage people to join in on the activities that they experience FOMO about 4) give them a taste of what they are missing, such as a great deal.
•    Warning: Be careful about using the fear of missing out too much. It can be a sore spot for consumers who have FOMO fatigue.

Can The Biggest Ideas Fit in Smallest of Ad Spaces?


In a fascinating look at the possibilities of digital advertising, Google Product Marketing Manage Aman Govil and Cecelia Wogan-Silva, Google’s Director of Agency, Independents took attendees through the process and work done by the Re:Brief Project.

To better understand how digital tools could be better applied to digital advertising, four iconic ad campaigns were revisited and reimagined. The original creative directors from legendary campaigns from Coca-Cola, Avis, Alka-Seltzer, and Volvo helped the Google team looks at these campaigns through the lens of digital marketing. They translated them into interactive experiences using existing digital tools. The result are engaging, beautiful digital campaigns. Learn more about the project at


Austin Convention Center, SXSW


Shoutlet’s in Austin throughout SXSW Interactive and will continue our panel coverage this week. Stick with us to get actionable insights straight from SXSW.