SXSW is a massive event scattered over what seems like a kerbillion venues, at least to me. It’s also a circus of marketing, with companies taking over full restaurants, offices and other buildings to compete for visibility among 72,000 registered attendees.
To stand out, the clever firms looked beyond the usual branded pens, T-shirts and stress ball giveaways to solve attendees’ problems. These marketing solutions offer lessons and inspiration for anyone looking to make an impression at any large event.
1. Survival kits. People talk about surviving
SXSW as if it were a war. It isn’t, but basic nourishment and
equipment were essential as we stomped to and from booths, panels
and other events. Several lounges created homes-away-from home
for techies needing to work and take meetings between sessions.
All offered artisan coffees and fancy energy bars, but others had
kits on hand with supplies such as aspirin, hairbands, mints and
even umbrellas on the rainy days. Most weren't branded items,
just things that might be useful and that would make people think
well of the company doling them out.
5. The nice lady did my hair.Cottonelle offered a Refresh Lounge with the requisite SXSW DJ and open bar but the space added an important rejuvenating extra: Free massages, makeup touch ups and hair blowouts. I sat to have my hair curled and appreciated the pampering as much as the chance to sit and cool my heels. I did so with a Cottonelle pillow on my lap – which I’m sure was part of the plan.
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