SXSW Interactive and the Exchange of Ideas

I’m pleased to announce that I will be representing Cramer-Krasselt at SXSW Interactive 2015 and obviously, I’m super excited to attend this annual, sharing of the minds convention. Even though this is my second time attending the Interactive festival, I’m still very much eager to learn, network and see what the future of marketing may hold.

As a digital strategy director at the agency, my goal at SXSW is to not only listen and assimilate new methods of digital marketing and innovations within the category, but to exchange ideas with others in the field. Where the previous time I attended SXSW, I took on a more passive role within the festival and soaked in as much information about trends, innovation and methodologies, this year my goal is to be more active. This year, my goal is to not only obtain as much information around trends, innovations and marketing methodologies, but it’s also about sharing and conversing about contemporary approaches to digital marketing with others in the fields.

SXSW INTERACTIVE

What does this secondary goal really mean? Well, it’s less about networking and more about the conversation, debate and brainstorming new ideas. It means it’s more of an active role during the week. Yes, there is the exchange of ideas with people at the festival, but I feel as though it’s more one person speaking to a room of 30. Discourse and dialogue in-between, over coffee on the sidewalk or at a restaurant is where the ideas discussed come to life.

This is not to say that I won’t be attending any sessions, far from it. I have planned out a full calendar of sessions, and yes I’m pretty double-booked. So far, my focus of the sessions will be on new technology and consumer tech approaches to wearables, the quantified self, and the Internet of Things as well as overarching innovations in digital marketing and new ways to think about the consumer.

It is also important to note, I will be assisting in a Cramer-Krasselt led workshop on Friday, March 13th at 11am called, “How to Keep Ideas Alive After SXSW.” I know that the workshop is already sold out, but if you want to discuss the ideas and approaches from that session, I’m happy to meet up afterward to discuss how you can take all these ideas back to your organization and make them come to life.

So, with all that said, if you want to meet up and discuss what we have been learning at the sessions at SXSW, I’m all for it. If you want to meet up to discuss potential agency and client relationships, I’m all for it. Basically, I’m open to the free exchange of ideas and how that is going to move our industry forward.

I will be there for the entire SXSW Interactive portion of the conference. If you want to hit me up, feel free to reach out to me using the social SXSW portal, Twitter (@ebreakdown) or on LinkedIn. Basically, you can find me anywhere.

With that said, I look forward to the new ideas, thoughts, methods and innovations at SXSW. I look forward to meeting new and inspiring people and of course, I look forward to the parties.

See you in Austin!

Spotify and Elvis: How To Create Innovative Digital Experiences

In honor of his would be 80th birthday, Spotify (the king of online music experience) created two applications that celebrate Elvis’ influence on music.

The first application, The Elvis Influence allows a user to type in their favorite (or any) band or artist to see how they have been influenced by Elvis. The best way to describe this experience is that it’s the Six Degrees of Elvis. The application backtracks the influence of each artist to Elvis himself. Additionally, the application allows a user to listen to the whole timeline or the individual artists.

The second application, The Elvisualization, is an interactive infographic which details the influence of Elvis overtime. Very similar to a “bloodline” if you will, it illustrates how Elvis influenced every artist after him all the way to contemporary times, across many different genres. In addition to illustrating the influence, the interactive graphic is dynamic allowing a user to click on any artist listed for a preview of their sound.

http://static.echonest.com/insights/elvis/index.html

Beyond Elvis being awesome, why should we care about these two applications from Spotify? Well, Spotify has historically been fantastic at leveraging their content, their assets and their library/database for enhanced user experiences than just streaming music. They are offering users more context, the ability to explore new content and share that content with others.

  • Innovating with Existing Product: Every brand or company has a product or service. However, what helps make good marketers is finding ways to innovate using that existing product and share that innovation to the customer. Yes, it is easier said than done with some clients and Spotify is unique in the fact that they have music as their product. Yet, the music isn’t their product, their database is and they are very smart with that database and consumption/tagging data that comes along with it. If you really think about it, Spotify didn’t create the Elvis apps because they have Elvis music, they created the apps because they have access to influence metrics and consumption of music stemming from Elvis’s music. That level of innovation and thinking, beyond simply what product does a brand have and how do we market the product, can create extraordinary experiences for consumers and the industry.
  • Moving Beyond the App: Yes, Spotify has a mobile application as their main source of product consumption, but they also have a web version too. Spotify has been good with creating experiences that don’t necessarily rely upon a platform, but experiences that rely upon their API and database. You don’t have to download the Elvis apps and you don’t need to be a member of Spotify to listen to the music. Don’t always design for the platform, design for the experience.
  • Consumer Value through Context: Spotify is a content consumption and curation experience. The brand has been very good with adding context to that equation as well. Music is very personal and selective, it makes sense for a brand like Spotify to hone in on that and create experiences that allow for the user to create their own experience.

Spotify is not only an amazing company offering a service to users that directly taps into passion points, they also, and one could argue changed consumer behavior from a purchase model to a streaming/leasing model of content. Because of that success in the industry and the access to content and consumption, it allows them to be on the forefront in digital marketing.

Want more? Take a look at these recent experiences Spotify has offered their consumers:

Notable Advertising and Marketing Quotes – Part 2

Previously, I wrote a blog post with some of my thoughts about advertising and marketing that I had posted to Twitter. With anyone in the industry, we all have opinions and best practices or even mantras about the world of advertising. That being said, here is round two of that thinking, or more to the point, my thinking, thoughts and learnings about the industry and creativity.

What are your thoughts?

Announcement: I’m Relocating to Phoenix

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After living in Chicago for the last four years and the midwest for my entire life, I’m moving on, I’m moving to Phoenix! It goes without saying that this is a pretty large life-changing event. That being said, I look at it as a new adventure, a new chapter to experience. Not to mention, I’m pretty tired of the Chicago Winters; man, this last one was brutal.

The love of my life is in Phoenix (she truly is the love of my life) as is a great, professional opportunity. I have accepted a position at a national advertising agency in Phoenix. These guys (which you will find out later who they are) are rockstars and are very passionate about the work. The passion that I’m talking about is the same passion that I always seek and have been a part of. I have had the opportunity, no, the honor to work with very talented and passionate people everywhere in Chicago and it will be difficult to let them go. However, this is a chance for me to open up a new chapter in my life; one with the woman I love, a chapter of new professional and digital opportunities at the agency, and a new chapter to grow digital in new forms, new clients and new work.

As I look back at my life in Chicago, I look back with a smile on my face. Chicago is the home of advertising, the home of marketing; if anyone says different (I’m looking at you NYC), they’re wrong. Chicago has taught me so much and has made me grow into digital professional I am today. The memories I have of this town, will always stay with me; especially the people. Everyone (too many to name), has made a significant impact on who I am, how I view the world, how I work and how I see the future. As I look back at my life in Chicago, I look back with a tear in my eye. I know that the experiences I have had here will always stay with me. The memories, the people and the moments have shaped me and have helped make me the person who I am today. It is sad to leave you all, leave the city that I have grown to love. However, with an end should come a new beginning; a new chapter.

Now, I can’t forget about Milwaukee… my alma mater. I keep thinking, “how did I get here?” And I know it’s because of Milwaukee. I have nothing but fond memories of Milwaukee and it will always have a special place in my heart. After all, it is the town where I met Stephanie. Milwaukee, as most of the Midwest, kept me pragmatic, humble and driven. It brought me up to the person I am today, with, what I hope, a strong moral code, work ethic and great friends that will never leave. I leave the Midwest thinking that Milwaukee was my hometown.

As I look forward, I see a bright future. A future of amazing possibilities, both personally and professionally. It is a future of exploration and adventure. I’m moving West. It’s Manifest Destiny. It is the American way. I see myself as a pioneer of sorts. I see this next stage as opportunity to start anew. I see this as what I want, need and have to do. Don’t think of it as me moving across the country, think of it as I’m only 2 hours behind.

In closing, I leave you with this. A close friend of mine once told me, “When you stop looking up at your city, that’s the moment you need to leave.” I believe that to be true and I’m ready to look up at Phoenix.

PS> You can follow my journey by following the #CHI2PHX hashtag on social media. (Yes, I had to make a hashtag for this)