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I am Managing Director & Chief Interactive Strategist at the Glover Park Group. Yes, I use this site to catalog some content related to my professional life. But this is my *personal* blog, so there's plenty of content that's got nothing to do with work. The views expressed here are my own, not those of my employer or clients.
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By on March 9, 2012

We will be coordinating our activities, sharing photos and videos, live streaming all the excitement as it happens (hashtagging our tweets with both #SXSW and #Ketchum so you can follow along), and submitting daily posts to the Ketchum Blog for more in-depth observations and insights.

As with past SXSWs, we fully expect this year’s festival to be overflowing with breaking news and breakout startups that manage to make noise and build buzz, as they seek to follow in the famous footsteps of Twitter and FourSquare, both of which successfully used SXSW as launch platforms when they were getting started.

Who will be the darling startups of SXSWi 2012? No one can say for sure. But, I’ll be watching these, among others:

  • GroupMe – multi-party SMS so groups can stay in touch (we’ll be using GroupMe in Austin again, just like we did when it made its debut at SXSWi 2011)
  • Highlight – combines GPS coordinates with social profile information to help you connect with others who are near by and share common interests.
  • Sonar – like Highlight, except that it connects you with others nearby based more on your shared social connections. Six-degrees of social separation.
  • Banjo – Alerts you when your friends or people with shared interests are nearby.
  • Forecast – Let friends know where you’re going and when, before you get there, so you can meet up offline.

Before even arriving at SXSW, the trend I’m seeing is that all of these apps tap the mobile social web to connect friends in the real world.  And that’s fitting, as that’s what SXSW is all about – the social web bringing people together live.

Give me a shout (@jonathankopp) or use any of the above apps to find me if you’ll be in Austin for SXSW. Otherwise, stay tuned here for more SXSW news from Ketchum, Access and Zocalo.

The old saw attributed to former House Speaker, Tip O’Neill that “all politics is local” may be in need of a refresh. After the 2008 presidential election, you could argue that all politics is social and we might attribute some of that shift to Jonathan Kopp, Ketchum’s new Global Director for Ketchum Digital.

Jonathan would know. As a partner for SS+K, he served on Barack Obama’s national media team and was tasked with reaching and registering 18-34 year old voters. Last night in San Francisco, Access co-hosted with Ketchum a conversation with Jonathan on lessons corporate marketers could learn from the campaign. Jonathan outlined four strategic imperatives the campaign used to engage this target audience and change the rules of the game:

  1. Involve brand advocates by engaging them where they live psychologically and physically.
  2. Inspire then empower them to believe they can do it, they can have it, they can be it.
  3. Amplify the effect by giving the audience the tools to act.
  4. Respect your audience and your respect will be rewarded.

Kopp When it comes to political campaigns, Obama changed the rules of engagement and Kopp believes that the Obama campaign can provide many lessons to brand marketers. “Let the game come to you and don’t over-push the brand,” recommended Kopp who claims that in as much as Gen-Yers want to discover and share, it is important to start small and “avoid doing an open mic with the biggest megaphone”.

In addition to discovering the message, consumers, especially younger audiences, want to personally relate to the message and that means that they want to feel that they were involved in the evolution of the message. They want to hear their words, in their voice and in their medium of choice. Many of the most powerful headlines that fueled the Obama campaign marketing came from the users. Of course the market at large has learned the power of user generated content, and Obama is the first politician who truly empowered the youth demographic to register, act and vote.

Nielsen_chart As social networking has overtaken email as the internet activity used most, brand owners may be concerned about the shift in power to the consumer, but Kopp believes successful marketing lies in giving consumers the tools they need to have conversations about their brands and let those conversations happen without interruption. Kopp pointed out that there is a lot of power in letting go and embracing the distributed power of the consumers (or in the case of Obama, the voters), but it requires a shift in thinking, and dare I say, some hope and change?

- Susan Butenhoff