SXSW Field Notes

SXSW is one of my favorite times of the year. For two weeks Austin is transformed into a fast paced, crowded city with energy and excitement coming from every angle. I love it! I've had the privilege of attending SXSW Interactive for the past three years and every year I leave feeling invigorated and inspired.

This year I stuck to SXSW Style sessions that focused on brand partnerships & social media best practices. Below are notes and quick take-away from my three favorite panels.

Panel One: Trading Traffic: Creative Brand Partnership with Camille Styles, Refinery29 & Clique Media Group

Partner Up. This panel was all about the benefits of collaborating with a complimentary brand or media outlet. The greatest benefits of partnering with another brand or media outlet are sharing content, testing content and the opportunity to get in front of a new audience.

Repost content. This is the easiest and least expensive way to start a partnership. By reposting a website, magazine or brand that you want to partner with you're instantly connecting yourself to that source. If your readers respond well to the post you have clear analytics that show your brand is complimentary to their publication or company.

Start a blog. All brands need to have an editorial style blog. Not only is it another opportunity for you to create a relationship with your customer but it is a great place to create content that you could potentially share with another website or complimentary brand. By sharing the content with a partner you're providing a free story and an opportunity to test a specific type of information. Look at some of your favorite websites or brands and use them as templates for the type of blog posts you should create.

Create videos. All digital media outlets are wanting to integrate more video content into their news stream but there is a problem…. videos are expensive to create. If you can create an editorial video that fits the aesthetic of your dream partner, most likely it will be published on their website. Your brand will get coverage and the publication’s website gets free content. Win-win. The hardest part is keeping the video editorial vs. salesy.

Set expectations & measure success. Work with your partner to determine how you will measure the success of the campaign. Are you looking for more visits to your website, more likes, followers? Make sure this is clearly stated so everyone is on the same page.

Panel Two: Rise Of Real Time, And What It Means For Brands with Keds, IT Cosmetics & The Zoe Report

Benefits of real time: This panel was about the benefits of real time and how Keds and IT Cosmetics are incorporating it into their marketing strategies. The benefits satisfy the need for immediacy, can drum up a sense of urgency and creates a greater sense of connection and loyalty to your audience.

Real time is happening so use it. The best place to live stream is on Instagram and Facebook. Instagram is great for short videos while Facebook is better for longer discussions with Q&As.

Be consistent. A weekly live stream series is a great way to gain loyalty. To garner interest promote and tease your video in the week and days leading up to it.

Repurpose. The best part of Facebook Live videos is that you can re-use them on a blog or newsletter. Here is a link on how to repurpose the videos.

Panel Three: Content is Still King: A New Narrative Calls with KinVara Balfour, Farfetch, Primark & The Cirqle

All about the Influencer: This panel discussed how content is changing with the rise of influencers and platforms demanding new imagery.  Panelists gave tips on influencer best practices and how to create strong content. 

Create strong partnerships. Make the Influencer feel like they're a part of the brand. Ask questions and get feedback on their experience in the store or with the brand. Interview Influencers on your website and in your live streams so the partnership is equally beneficial for you and them. Ask Influencers what tools they need to make better content. With any partnership it’s key to set expectations and set clear markers for success.

Tier influencers & products/services. Make a list of your favorite Influencer and label what they would be best at promoting. Then match that influencer with the product/service you're interested in promoting. More followers does not necessarily mean better quality. Micro influencers with small followers tend to have higher engagement and trust with their viewers.

Re-post all influencer content. When an influencer posts a photo with your garment or brand make sure you re-post it to your social media accounts, in your newsletter and every platform you have!  It's free content and supports the partnership.

Snap environmental photos. "The age of the white background product shot is over". People are either looking for inspiration or aspiration so it's best to shoot a product or clothing in it's natural habitat. People are asking, how does this product fit into my lifestyle?

Urgency and exclusivity is critical. Shoppers are in a very “buy now, wear now” moment. Create the sense of urgency with specific shopping time frames and limited quantities.

If you’d like to talk about these topics in more detail send us an email at

My sister and I at SXSW's Style Brunch in Partner with SOREL. Yes, we're wearing the same shoes #SisterProblems. Photo by Tania Quintanilla

One of my favorite parties of the year, Camille Styles x WhoWhatWear. Beautiful video by