SxSW 2015: Key Insights

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CES 2015: Tour Recap

SxSW 2015: Key Insights

Digitas Health LifeBrands took a trip to The Lone Star state and immersed ourselves in all things South by Southwest (SxSW).The days went by fast as we were pulled into speed sessions, meet-ups, brainstorms, demonstrations, hack-a-thons, pitches, accelerators, and a myriad of other Austin-style opportunities. The next few slides are our attempt to bring some of our learnings home with an emphasis on the relevance to healthcare marketers. Enjoy!

What it is:Our bodies communicate subtle messages. For instance:When a person puts their hands behind their head, it means they want the speaker to stop and give them the stage.When you look down while talking, youre accessing your memory, when you look up, youre accessing your imagination (or lying).Real smiles affect your entire face, fake smiles only affect the mouth.Why it matters: We need to take body language into account when:Observing how people are reacting to digital platformsPresenting digital conceptsSee What I Mean:The Language of the Body1

FOMO, Facebook, and Pot: Your Brain On The New Millennium2What it is:Countless studies reveal that the Internet has resulted in dramatic differences in the way our brains are wired. Raashi Bhalla, Creative Strategist at Pinterest by trade, and neuroscientist by training, explained that we experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) after seeing Instagram photos because of a parallel brain memory combined with a cortisol spike. When someone likes our post on Facebook, our nucleus accumbens pleasure pathway is activated.

Why it matters: Our brains are rewiring to process and map excess information and transform that information into tasks and behaviors outside the web.

The ability to process mass amounts of information across disciplines can increase our ability to problem solve. As a digital agency charged with changing peoples behaviors it was informative to see Pinterest identifying the science behind how social works.

What it is:J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan from the Brookings Institute discussed their study of ISIS and how the group has effectively gained attention by disrupting Twitter to communicate their beliefs and spread terrorizing photos and information.Why it matters: The graphic displays ISIS very dense network of dedicated Twitter accounts that coordinate messages to gain visibility. Although 50,000 accounts feels like a large number, its only .02% of all Twitter users. However, its their interconnectedness that gives them the ability to be seen throughout the system. Health communities have the same makeup: small communities dedicated to a specific topic. While traditional marketers may see these groups as small, helping them form stronger bonds between each other and to better coordinate communications using effective content can provide huge visibility within networks like Twitter.The ISIS Twitter Census3

Why it matters: In meetings with companies like NewsCred and Spredfast, you quickly realize that facilitating a brand's content ecosystem is not simply an editorial bandwidth problem, but a workflow problem as well. Getting great, credible, and relevant content that fits meaningfully into people's hectic time-starved day is tough for any brand (or their agency) to do alone.The way content and media is created and distributed continues to evolve4In meetings with companies like Newscred and Spredfast, you quickly realize that facilitating a brand's content ecosystem is not simply an editorial bandwidth problem, but a workflow problem as well. Getting great, credible, relevant content that fits meaningfully into people's hectic time-starved day is tough for any brand (or their agency) to do alone.

Also the formats and technologies continue to change. A hot new app during the conference called MeerKat lets you livestream video from your phone and distributes it out through Twitter. Another company we met with called helps brands write native content for emerging platforms like Medium, a new way of blogging with it's own set of culturally acceptable content types and behaviors.

Why it matters: With overlap comes opportunity (and risk). Its crucial to understand how these value-add media partner services can be used, and when an agency or brand should be owning the overarching strategy and design experience. In healthcare, its important to find where overlaps are disrupting customers day-to-day lives so marketers and brands can help.Marketing roles are seriously overlapping

5Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable talked about how their content teams are structured around not only area of editorial expertise (politics, business, lifestyle, etc), but also the intended distribution platform. So when Mashable needs to get a piece of content into places like Pinterest, there is a Pinterest expert ready to design the content for the cultural nuances of the platform--same thing with Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and the myriad of other social services. While these are probably enticing value-add services for a pure-play media agency, it may indeed overlap with your digital or social AORs roles.

Another interesting company we met was Colaborator. They are the "first collaboration network providing filmmakers and content creators with tools to fund, produce, market, and screen their projects". It was apropos to meet with the co-founders Kevin Jackson and Andres Faucher on "convergence day", when SXSW Interactive and Film festivals collide with Music. Colaborator provides brands a very interesting potential alternative for countering high-priced ad agency production costs.

The final big impending overlap was in Healthcare. In panels with people like Scanadu's co-founder Sam De Brouwer, and the Qualcomm XPrize senior director, Grant Campany, it was clear that the role of primary care doctors is about to change significantly (even more than it already has). The winner of the $10m "Tricorder" XPrize will be announced in January 2016 (to align with Star Trek's 50th anniversary), and will be able to diagnose 15 conditions you would normally have to go to the doctor to diagnoses.

The need for speedWhat it is: Velocity is speed with purpose and was a big theme this year. Astro Teller, Head of the "Moonshot Factory," gave a keynote on the importance of failing fast because its cheaper and you learn more quickly. When asked if he was afraid of the pace of technological innovation, he replied that its not the speed of technology hes worried about but our inability to react to the changes.Why it matters: For brands, marketing velocity can be tricky. Topical relevance is transient and erodes quickly. Content turnaround needs to be fast, but sometimes brands get too caught up in trends and forget their true purpose. Finding balance is key.6Velocity was a big theme at SXSW this year. Velocity is speed with purpose. Astro Teller, Head of the "Moonshot Factory" GoogleX, gave a fantastic keynote on the importance of failing fast because you learn more quickly and it's cheaper. When asked if he was afraid of the pace of technological innovation, he replied that it wasnt the speed of technology he was worried about, it was our inability to react to that change.

This was also clear in another great keynote by United Therapeutics Founder and CEO Martine Rothblatt, who talked about the need for society to have the conversation around "mindclones"--digital manifestations of ourselves, complete with their own rights, values, and ability to disagree with us, and that government bodies need to move faster to start making laws for such realities.

At our sponsored event, the Social Health Startup Bootcamp, Polina Hanin of StartUp Health said that she's seeing more and more corporate-backed VC funds for sparking innovation in digital health outside the walls of the corporation. She says this is because of the need for speed, thus outsourced innovation.

For brands, marketing velocity can be tricky. Topical relevance is transient and erodes quickly with time. Content turnaround needs to be fast. But sometimes brands get too caught up on the trend and forget their purpose. Instead of creating a context for better decision-making, they end up "buzzwedging" into something trending (a new word I learned at SXSW that means jarringly inserting your brand into a trend despite being off-brand.)

What it is:There were 48 sessions on Health and Medtech at SxSW. During the American College of Cardiology Conference, which took place at the same time, there was one talk on this topic.Why it matters:What will it take for patient-empowering Medtech innovations to truly engage and excite healthcare professionals, payers (both private insurers and the government), hospital/healthcare systems, and the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry?It will likely take proof that the onslaught of new data we are generating can be meaningfully translated into better outcomesand perhaps more importantlyless expensive healthcare.Democratizing MedicineEric Topol MD78

Is Big Data the Next Wonder Drug?

Eric Topol MD, Walter DeBrawer, John NostaIts an exciting time to be a healthcare technophile. The scale of initial enrollment in Apples ResearchKit isa harbinger of efficient data gathering at a scale previous unimaginable (and unaffordable).What will we do with the terabytes of homeless data being generated by a proliferating array of wearable tracking systems? Well need analytic algorithms to catch up with the burgeoning data, so that patientsand doctors know exactly what to do with the increasingly quantified self. Is it the next wonder drug? No. But it will help the next wonder drug get to market fasterand will enable it to be more effective for more people.

Thomas Morrow MDA.I. MD: Virtual Health Assistants and the Future of Health CareWhat it is:The Cochrane Review