Event recap: SXSW 2019

CDM Princeton x SXSW2019

Top Takeaways from SXSW Interactive

About SXSW

South by Southwest® (SXSW) is an annual conference in Austin, Texas that celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.

CDM Princeton digital and tech team members attended the SXSW® Interactive Festival, which kicks off the week and provides a variety of panels, booths and networking experiences for industry folk.

Overarching theme: “The Humanity Potential”

A recurring theme this year seemed to be the potential for human-to-human interactions even in the midst of rapid tech evolutions in a turbulent global political climate. There is great optimism that honoring the simplicity of our humanity will bring us to amazing advancements.

See a few notable takeaways from the first part of the conference below.

Use what you got, to get what you want

In the “A Psychologist and an Ad Guy Walk into a Campaign” talk, Dan Monheith (Hardhat) and Dr. Melissa Weinberg (LifePsych) walked us through the many ways successful marketers used behavioral economics to leverage what their competition does not see, and cannot own.

P&G is one such example, where the team identified one idea to stretch across 18 global brands in an ad supporting their sponsorship of the Winter Olympics. Availability bias is the leveraging of a human commonality – P&G chose mothers as the commonality to tell an emotional, relatable story that took the viewer from a low point, to triumph. 

Learn more about behavioral economics by subscribing to the Bad Decisions podcast

Getting Out Of Our Own Way

Be For Real

The Pop Ups: Designing for Emotional Experiences panel brought together organizers of Burning Man, Color Factory and the Brooklyn Museum. They agree that brands should be trusted curators of moments of meaning, rather than contributors to the bucket list mentality as seen on Instagram.

Avoid Innovation Envy

One of Rohit Bhargava 7 Non-Obvious Trends is something called Innovation Envy. “We innovate by looking at someone else and doing the same[…] With most innovation, what ends up happening is not spectacular failure, but irrelevance,” He suggests that companies should “fail as if no one is watching” since often, no one will be.

Watch Rohit’s presentation:

You Can’t De-risk Innovation

We’ll close with an inspirational quotable from the SXSW panel: When It’s Life Or Death: How Brands Can Use Innovative Media to Make Meaningful Connections. Kay Bayne, Sr Manager, Consumer & HCP Marketing @ AstraZeneca said “Sometimes we try too hard to de-risk innovation in healthcare.”

So much truth. There can be no models or best-in-class examples without one team being the first to take a risk. For emerging tech to take hold, we need adoption. So get out there and create!

by Nicky Battle
Vice President, Digital Strategist


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