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:  Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.”—Kate McManus, VP of Marketing, Delicato Family Wines (Wine Spectator)

Young consumers are “killing the shopping spree.” Whether they’re signing up for the growing number of clothing subscription services (Rent the Runway, Le Tote, Urban Outfitters, etc.), shopping second-hand, or just culling their closets—young shoppers are quitting fast fashion in droves. Some are inspired by Marie Kondo’s joy-sparking brand of minimalism, while others want to help the environment—and still others are just seeking a wide range of things to wear at a lower price. (Vice)

Airbnb is launching “adventures” for experience-seeking young travelers. The site that started with accommodations and moved into one-off “experiences” (like dinner parties) now offers multi-day excursions, complete with guides, gear, meals, and accommodations. The platform already features over 200 trips in 40 countries, including a tiger-tracking expedition in Kenya and a trek through the canyons of Oman. (Fast Company)

Tyson Foods is taking on the fake meat market with plant-based nuggets. The pea protein nuggets are the first in a line of “Raised & Rooted” products from Tyson Foods. The brand's CEO explains they’re catering to the “growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein”—aka young flexitarians, not full-time vegans. But can a company known for its meat sell the idea that “this [trend] is about ‘and’—not ‘or’”? (The Verge)

Snapchatters can shop Levi’s new Pride Month jacket via selfie filter. The Shoppable feature is first enabled by scanning a QR code found at select stores or by getting a special Snapcode from a friend. Then, users can try on the special-edition trucker jacket via augmented reality, customizing it with one of two washes and a selection of six pins and patches. Once they complete the look, users can purchase the Pride Month Jacket—without ever leaving the app. (SJ)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition revamps the original. The new smart speakertakes many cues from the adult version’s second generation (it’s louder and rounder) but adds special features just for kids that go beyond a rainbow-striped color scheme. The device will come with a year of FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that includes popular Alexa skills like Pinkfong’s Baby Shark Adventures, as well as an enhanced parental control suite to address growing privacy concerns. (VarietyCNET)

Quote of the Day: “Young people still have an incredible interest in the Olympic Games…But the way they are consuming the Olympic Games—the type of content they are watching and the ways and the platforms on which they are watching—are fundamentally changing.”—Kit McConnell, Sports Director, International Olympic Committee (Bloomberg)

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