SXSW 2018: The 3 Biggest Takeaways For Brands

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

We looked at the top trends coming out of SXSW to see how brands can stay current with young consumers today…

SXSW may be losing scale, but the festival still presents a huge opportunity for brands to build affinity with young consumers seeking out experiential marketing. Not only does the event let companies connect with the top creatives across industries to test out their newest campaigns and products, but social media lets any Instagram-worthy activation spread like wildfire across the web. And that's just what they did. Shows took center stage again, with the iconic red robes from The Handmaid’s Tale acting as art installations around Austin and Westworld’s immersive activation capturing imaginations (and making headlines). Tech brands also took top marks, like HP’s Digital Artistry House, which drew in “over 5,000 visitors,” according to Adweek.

This year, SXSW had a bit of a reckoning though. In the Post-Woke World, every industry, event, and brand has had to adapt to young consumers’ demand for diversity and equal representation. The topics discussed at panels showed that SXSW did their best to meet those demands, covering everything from the #metoo movement to political discourse and social media platforms’ failure to weed out fake news. In 2017, we focused on experiential, trendy activations but this year our first takeaway takes on the tough topics…

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing1. The Future Is Female For Brands, Too

SXSW stepped up to the plate by showing that Silicon Valley can move away from its notorious “tech bro” culture, and conferences across industries can do the same. Keynote speakers were evenly split between men and women, and there were "notably more women and gender-focused sessions than in prior years,” according to one source (as reported by Adweek). CES drew fire for failing to do…


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Quote of the Day: “The [financial] industry has been slow to adapt to the ways in which young people want to be communicated with and to communicate with each other.”—Ian Rosen, CEO, StockTwits (YPulse)

Instagram users can now purchase products without leaving the app. The platform’s shopping tags are evolving to allow users to check out directly inside the app from about 20 retailers using saved payment and shipping information. The move doesn’t just give Facebook a direct cut of each sale, but also allows the platform to collect data that they’ll leverage in their ad targeting. Instagram’s influence over young consumers’ purchases continues to skyrocket, and according to our Shoppability trend, 72% of Gen Z & Millennials are open to buying products on social media. (Recode)

Disney and MAC Cosmetics are debuting a nostalgic makeup line for Aladdin fans. The Disney Aladdin collection features lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, and bronzer in jewel and metallic hues that Princess Jasmine might wear with her bright turquoise outfit. The partnership is part of the lead-up to the live-action Aladdin’s debut, and isn’t MAC’s first time introducing fans to whole new worlds of Disney-themed cosmetics. In the past, they’ve also released Cinderella and Disney villains-themed lines. (Teen Vogue)

Google announced their ambitious plan to become “the future of gaming:” a cloud-based streaming service called Stadia. Gamers will be able to play across device (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.) without waiting for the title to load in a YouTube-connected setting. That means viewers can instantly play titles featured in videos and stream their own gameplay to YouTube—which could challenge industry leader, Amazon-owned Twitch. The Netflix-like service is set to launch this year. (The Verge)

Instagrammable dim sum is going global. The craze stared in Hong Kong, where Social Places serves up bao made to look like tiny pigs and charcoal custard bao filled with “a thick liquid that oozes out like lava,” introducing three or four new incarnations each month to keep customers coming back. Meanwhile at Disneyland Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus customers dine on buns that look like their favorite animated characters, including Frozen's Olaf. In the U.S., San Francisco’s Chili House and New York’s RedFarm are some of the first to take on the trend. (Bloomberg)

Netflix’s next choose-your-own-adventure series lets viewers chart Bear Grylls’ journey through the wilderness. Soon, Netflix viewers will have the chance to become outdoors experts from the comfort of their couches, as they make the survival show celebrity’s choices as he traverses tricky situations. Grylls himself says that he’s “giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots” and that “For the first time, my survival is in your hands.” (THR)

Quote of the Day: “One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they do not want to engage with human beings, especially if a chatbot, app, or a website can be deployed.”—Xiomara Lorenzo, Director, Society of Grownups (YPulse)

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