So I am a SXSW virgin no more now that my final day at the festival is a wrap. It was a lot to take in, and it has left me with lots of thought and questions that I can apply to work I am doing right now. I found that the panels I attended didn’t so much tell you “the answer” to effective digital and social strategies –pretty much learned there is no one-way to do any of it — but what all the panels did, was give me multiple ways to think about and approach social media that I had never thought of before.
For example, I was told there was no such thing as a “social media campaign” (shh don’t tell my clients). This is Gary V’s opinion based on the fact that you should not approach social media as a campaign but rather as a relationship. It’s about listening, and participating, and learning, And caring. That was a big part of Gary V.’s presentation titled “The Thank You Economy.” He contends that companies really don’t “care about the customer.” At least not in any meaningful way. He wants to change all that.
At one point he said: “If content is king, then context is God.” I love that quote. I am not sure what it means but I love it. I think what he was trying to say is that as is the case in any relationship, the content of what you are saying is only half the story. The context in which it is delivered and received is even more important. So he wants to change the whole way in which he is relating to customers and to thank them in a way that is out of the context of a business transaction. He even put his money where his mouth is and gave everyone in the audience a special promotional code (“THANKYOU”) for a wine website allowing us all to get several free wine samples.
Gary V. is my new hero!
I also learned from the agency that did the now famous Old Spice campaign that had they had time to test (and over-think) that idea it would have killed it. You can’t over think in this environment. They also were honest about the fact that they spent five or six years before that idea came to them trying other stuff that wasn’t as effective. You need 100 ideas and most will fail, but at least one won’t. And it is almost impossible to know which one until you actually put it out there.
I have been in PR for almost 20 years and now am excited to rethink how I approach everything. I am still digesting all that I learned this week from him and all of the other amazing minds at the conference. But I have no doubt it will help me think different and do better. And to think about the context in which I am doing it.