SXSW Panels Round-Up!

Austin’s South by Southwest (March 13th -22nd) has become much more of a destination event for fans of music and film in recent years, but its conference remains critical for cutting edge takes on UX design, social technology and marketing.  The schedule and abstracts for the conference panels are up and we’ve spent the last couple of weeks browsing the amazing offerings. Here’s just a handful of the super cool speaker and panel sessions we found that pertain to events.


Abstract: The integration of legal cannabis into the live events industry is one of the fastest growing partnerships happening today. In a conversation about this fascinating relationship, panelists will discuss the current state and future of cannabis at events, and how to bring cannabis to your event, from music festivals to eSports tournaments and more.

With cannibas now legal in 11 states including the District of Columbia, it certainly stands to reason that there should be new above-the-books ways to professionally incorporate cannabis into your next event.  I doubt anyone reading this article has a problem with an open bar – is this really this much of a far cry from that? A lot of weight is added to the panel by the inclusion of Axiom Advisors.  Axiom are renowned on the West Coast as consultants to major companies on public policy, technology, infrastructure, cannabis, you name it.  If anyone is approaching this topic holistically and thoughtfully its them.


Abstract: Your events create engagement, excitement, and connection. During this time, they are the most immersive and effective marketing channel your organization has. So why has it proven so difficult to integrate events into your omnichannel marketing strategy? New technologies are making it possible to provide a seamless, personalized brand experience at every customer touchpoint — including your event experiences. In this session we will explore how event marketers can deliver more value by extending attendee engagement year-round and bringing events into their omnichannel strategy.

Here’s an awesome speaker event hosted by Eventbase.  Eventbase have the sickest multi-purpose events app in the industry.  Whether you’re pulling together a corporate event, tradeshow, or conference, Eventbase lets you assemble a unique app specifically tailored to help you and your audience keep track of everything and stay organized.  As an event organizer you can even pull in some great data analytics on event traffic and user experiences as well, which is invaluable information to stay connected with your audience well after your live event wraps up.  Omnichannel marketing is Eventbase’s wheelhouse. We’re looking forward to getting more info about seamlessly integrating digital and real-life event experiences for consumers from this session.


Abstract: Live events are at the eve of their digital disruption – from augmented reality to virtual reality, in this session, David Johnson, COO of music tech startup PEEX, will examine how fans are wanting immersive live experiences more than ever, and how technology is driving this. Live events are the closest connection fans will ever experience with artists – David will discuss how technology will help make that experience even more connected and personal. Although technology can’t and shouldn’t replace the emotional journey of the live experience, David will explain how it can and should serve to enhance and augment its reach, quality and impact.

This isn’t the last time you’ll hear about PEEX on this blog.  We actually have a cool article on wearable technology in the works for next month that will go more in depth about their special gadget.  Whereas many in the experiential events industry are focused on creating unique visual experiences, PEEX is focused on making the sound of your next conference or stadium rock show as personalized as possible.  Their special earbuds not only stream audio directly from the stage to your ears without latency, they allow you to use a personal 5-band EQ to fiddle with the levels and make your own concert experience sound better than the real thing.  We’re looking forward to this unique audio-focused take on mass personalization. 


Abstract: Our brains don’t experience events objectively. Our brains filter everything we encounter through a lens of biases, needs, goals, feelings and prior experiences, creating an impassable chasm between the event and our conscious experience of it. While behavioral economics has attempted to understand the brain’s filtering mechanisms, experience design has largely remained focused on documenting the practical and emotional journeys, ignoring our underlying “mind journeys.” We’ll explore how principles of behavioral economics can be combined to recognize, and even nudge, a user’s mind journey through Cognitive UX. We’ll wrestle with dark patterns: when does nudging become hacking? We’ll show how thoughtful Cognitive UX can help brands create deeper and more meaningful relationships with users.

This likely trippy panel is hosted by Huge Inc., a far-reaching but eccentric and trendy UX Design & Marketing Firm based in Brooklyn (surprised?).  Consumer experience is a key focus of any event. We don’t want our audiences to simply enjoy their experience, we want to leave a strong impression that can translate into a stronger consumer/brand relationship later on.  Huge Inc. is at the forefront of experimenting with fresh ways to engage and retain consumers – from opening their own special café, to maintain their own publication on digital design.  We can trust they can name check concepts like behavioral economics and have the chops to back it up.

Was this pretty far out?  Keep track of SXSW’s panels here for some bleeding-edge concepts to integrate into your next event.  If you suddenly feel inspired for your next event, don’t fight that feeling, get in touch with us to day and get those ideas rolling!

David Sonntag
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