Porter Novelli

I found one thing blatantly missing in this year’s #SXSW. I saw tools, I saw applications, I saw platforms, I saw demos. I heard lots of people speak, about applications, the future, robots, Nano technology, measurement, ROI,  Angry Birds, 3D TV, homeless people, the weather, the U.S. elections, world peace and global warming.

The one thing I did not hear was “strategy.”  Though I love all the tools, applications and tutti quanti… as a communication professional, all of this is completely useless for my clients if it is not deeply embedded in rock solid integrated strategy. And strategy was what I could not locate digging through the close to 2,000 sessions of this 2012 #SXSW edition.

I think that is sad, and a missed opportunity. I can see people going home full of ideas and impressions, and projecting them directly into their working environment. As I write this, I even hear people around me talking about how they are so excited about Path and Pinterest and Heatmap that they cannot wait to present it to their clients.  Presenting social communication tools out of context, and not directly linked to a solid strategy, is dead wrong, and dangerous.

I would have loved to see Harvard or Stanford or MIT professors doing sessions on integrated strategies, or seeing the strategic considerations implemented in the glossy case studies that are distributed left and right. Without solid strategies, the communication and marketing houses slowly sink in the sand. It is the basis, the very foundation.

And it was nowhere to be found…