Four of the team from EightyOne and its sis­ter com­pany Dot Loves Data headed to SXSW in Austin re­cently to take in “new ideas and cre­ative tech­nolo­gies”. And the week didn’t dis­ap­point. Part­ner and busi­ness di­rec­tor Matt West shares his top fives across the board.

On the rise: Tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ment as your brand plat­form. The more dis­rup­tive brands are defin­ing them­selves us­ing vi­sion­ary leaps in tech­nol­ogy. And that’s mak­ing them cool. For ex­am­ple, Uber has part­nered with Amer­i­can Com­mer­cial Avi­a­tion com­pany Em­braer and aim to be test fly­ing elec­tric ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing (eVTOL) air­craft by 2020. The dig­i­tal back­lash – find­ing mean­ing out­side the screen. We hu­mans are com­plex and con­tra­dic­tory crea­tures. We're si­mul­ta­ne­ously seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for real ana­logue con­nec­tions, re­la­tion­ships and good old-fash­ioned fun, as well as de­mand­ing more “calm tech­nol­ogy” to con­tinue to en­hance our lives. In­te­grated agency and client strat­egy. Client fo­cus on data-driven think­ing and op­ti­mi­sa­tion will change the way agen­cies and clients have his­tor­i­cally worked to­gether. Ac­knowl­edg­ing Gen­er­a­tion Z. They are fast nip­ping on the heels of the Mil­len­ni­als and have very dif­fer­ent at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours to any­thing we have seen be­fore.

So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity. We are rapidly ap­proach­ing what many re­gard as the next in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion (tech). We will need to con­sider our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties (as de­sign­ers/mar­keters/thought lead­ers etc) to so­ci­ety as a whole with re­gard to our as­sump­tions and bias (in­ten­tional or oth­er­wise), the dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth and bal­ance of voices.

What i mpressed us: The Prime Min­is­ter of Ire­land. Young, pro­gres­sive and part of the new wave of in­ter­na­tional lead­ers. Leo Varad­kar has both a de­sire to im­prove the lives of people who need help and the econ­omy at the same time. Smart city tech­nolo­gies. Such as the in­tro­duc­tion of Li-Fi con­nec­tiv­ity, smart paint for safer ac­ces­si­bil­ity, eVOTL net­works and much more.

Hu­man-cen­tric in­no­va­tion. The sheer vol­ume of user-cen­tric, dig­i­tal­lyled en­tre­pre­neur­ial so­lu­tions.

Ma­chine learn­ing. This is a preva­lent dis­cus­sion. But there is also an ac­knowl­edge­ment that hu­man emo­tion and em­pa­thy are key in the de­vel­op­ment and suc­cess of any ap­pli­ca­tions in the fu­ture. Em­pow­ered fe­male lead­er­ship. But not at the ex­pense of our fel­low man.

Up for de­bate:

Ig­nor­ing the red! Noisy app no­ti­fi­ca­tions dis­tract even the most dis­ci­plined of minds and en­cour­age us to run on au­topi­lot. Re­claim a sense of pur­pose by ask­ing "What do I re­ally want in this mo­ment?" be­fore click­ing.

Mar­keters as an­a­lysts. Try­ing to turn mar­keters into data an­a­lysts. There’s a big groundswell to have these people in­te­grated with the mar­ket­ing team, but they’re dif­fer­ent from mar­keters and should work along­side each other. Talk­ing about be­ing au­then­tic. If you are, you know it, and your cus­tomers know it. Talk­ing about it doesn’t make it so. Emoji over­dose. Imag­ine if you had to put your feel­ings into, like, ac­tual words?

AI. Talk­ing about AI and ma­chine learn­ing as the way of the fu­ture. The fu­ture is hap­pen­ing al­ready baby.

New Zealand busi­nesses could start do­ing more of: Change our mind­set. "If it's al­ready good, make it bet­ter" not "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Be cau­tious of best prac­tice. By def­i­ni­tion it ties you to the past and can put a choke­hold on in­no­va­tion. Un­der­stand­ing what en­gage­ment

re­ally means. Clicks alone tell a lim­ited story about what's in some­one's head. We need high-value data, not just big data to find out what's re­ally res­onat­ing with our cus­tomers and whether we're mov­ing the nee­dle against the ob­jec­tives.

In­te­grat­ing­grat­ing cre­ative, data and me­dia strat­egy. rat­egy.

Struc­turec­ture teams for flu­id­ity. Cre­ate in­quis­i­tiveq­ui­s­i­tive teams for the "ten per­cent ruleule of change" who im­ple­ment in­cre­men­tal­ly­tally and re­fine on the fly rather thanan wait­ing till the quar­terly/ an­nual re­viewview to as­sess ef­fec­tive­ness. Have a lit­tle fun with your brand. Have a go,o, take some risks and you may find fans in un­ex­pected places. The free stuff: Univer­sity of Texas scarf. Go the Longhorns! Drum­stick nov­elty pens. A hang­over. Note, Bud ‘Light’ is to do with calo­ries, not al­co­hol con­tent. Ro­bot-made cof­fee. It was ac­tu­ally pretty damn good! Shared mo­ments with strangers. Smiles, gig­gles, note-pass­ing and food chat.

Thank you Austin. We’ll be back for more of your Texan BBQ next year.

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