Brand Watch: SXSW 2012


From its humble roots in 1992 as a regional festival for musicians in Austin Texas, South by South West, now twenty years old, has emerged as a mixed platform for independent directors and musicians by embracing emerging media and developing culture. In that way, the brand of South by South West, SXSW, as it is widely known has matriculated into something more than just music festival, it is a breeding ground of thought, a taste maker’s test market for trendsetting, culture reforming ideas and products.

SXSW is where smart, young products meet smart, young consumers.

Hanson, John Mayer and James Blunt are the musical often touted stories of SXSW, by finding eventual fame from pre-conference obscurity. From a branding perspective, these are the pillars of why SXSW remains musically relevant. The conference breaks good musicians by giving them a stage, good movies by giving them responsive audiences.

What most people do not know are the tech stories.  In 2006, SXSW featured a keynote panel of Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. In 2007, Twitter notably gained a good deal of early traction and buzz and SXSW Interactive.  In 2008, Mark Zuckerberg participated in a keynote interview with tech journalist Sarah Lacy.  SXSW has even precipitated the launch of Foursquare.

SXSBW has done more for the tech industry than most tech niche specific conventions.

The brand of SXSW has grown tremendously. It has been said that attendance alone has strained network providers such as AT&T due to heavy iPhone usage. In 2009, The Hurt Locker held its US premier at the conference. Conan O’Brien even stops in to promote his new concepts.

Currently, SXSW is more than music or tech or film. It is a promise of emerging artists, revolutionary products and genius-level ideas. That promise permeates the conference at every level.

In 20 years, SXSW has broke records, birthed spin-offs and grew million dollar companies.

That’s brand power.

– Deeon


Brand Watch: Charity Water

Here’s the Lesson From A Non Profit Like Charity Water: Decide How You Are Different, Be It, and Forget the Rest.

Kivi from the Non Profit Marketing Guide says this and we thoroughly agree!

“We model ourselves and our businesses nonprofits after other successful people and businesses nonprofits spending considerable money and energy discovering and replicating best practices, looking for that one recipe for success.

Here’s the thing: If you look like other people, and if your business nonprofit looks like other businesses nonprofits, then all you’ve done is increase your pool of competition. Face it: You’re different. And the sooner you appreciate it, the sooner you embrace and assert it, the more successful you’ll be.

What’s Different about Charity: Clean water wanting people in struggling nations isn’t new or different. Organizations have been working on it forever. But what’s different about Charity: Water is how they have focused on connecting donations to a specific well, showing that well under construction, and showing the actual human beings who benefit from that well.

Here’s what founder Scott Harrison advises other nonprofits to do: “Simplicity is key. Be able to tell your story simply. I can’t tell you how many nonprofits I meet and after three minutes talking to them, I still have no idea what they do. Show. Don’t tell. And do it visually. Use the Web to tell people where their money has gone and let them see what it has done.”

Charity: Water uses the technology available today to broadcast real images and stories, often in real-time, creating a direct connection between supporters and the people around the world drilling the wells and drinking from them. It’s the showing that is so different. Like Scott said, it’s so simple, and yet so brilliant, because no one else did it this way before.

It’s different, and that’s why they are raising a ton of new money for what’s really an old cause.”

So Be Different, Embrace That Difference, Go For It Non Profit.

What I think- The World Needs You Now!

Check out Kivi’s blog at for her up to the minute commentary on business non-profits.