South-by-Southwest is back again! Whether you’re a veteran attendee or a first timer, the schedule can be overwhelming. We’re here to help. We’ve gone through the never-ending list of SXSW Interactive panels and chosen our favorites. If you’re in digital marketing, tech, retail, or something in between, these panels will provide thought provoking content on a wide variety of topics from some of the most innovative names in business. Now all you have to do is buy a couple portable phone chargers, figure out transportation, scout out the parties, find free food, network with new people, wait in lines, squeeze into music shows, and hope it doesn’t rain…but at least we’ve got your schedule covered.
Friday, March 9th:
AI: Transforming Luxury, Fashion and Beauty
Who: Fashion Innovation Alliance, Heuritech, L’Oreal, Reveal
When: Friday, March 9th at 11am
What: Artificial intelligence continues to be a hot topic across all sectors, especially fashion, luxury, and beauty brands. But just how big of an impact is it making? And what are the infrastructure realities of incorporating AI into a retail company? Learn from speakers on both the technology and brand sides in a session that is sure to include innovative case studies.
Saturday, March 10th:
More Data, More Problems: Transparency in 2018
Who: Bazaarvoice, Dell, PMG Agency, Sony
When: Saturday, March 10th at 11am
What: In the world of advertising, there is a growing mistrust and disconnect between brands, agencies, and their data providers. How can all parties work together to solve this issue? Our own SVP of Global Advertising, Toby McKenna, will be moderating a conversation between panelists from Sony, Dell, and PMG Agency.
What Followers Want: How Social Evolves in 2018
Who: Instagram, Facebook, Teen Vogue – THEM, Work & Co
When: Saturday, March 10th at 12:30pm
What: If you work in social media or community building, this is one panel not to miss. Platform creators from Facebook and Instagram will join industry experts to discuss the ways social platforms, brands, and content creators can come together to create engaging experiences that drive value for business and for society as a whole.
Tech Under Trump: a 2017/2018 Scorecard
Who: Bloomberg Law, CareJourney, Consumer Technology Association, The White House – Office of American Innovation
When: Saturday, March 11th at 3:30pm
What: Politics will undoubtedly be a big topic at this year’s SXSW. If you’re curious about how the current administration is working with the tech community, this would be a good panel to attend. Matt Lira, Special Assistant to the President for Innovation Policy and Initiatives, will sit on this expert panel to talk about what is — and isn’t — faring well for the tech industry under the current president. This kind of open dialogue is what makes SXSW special!
The Secrets of Cult Brands
Who: Glossier, Instagram, NFL, Spredfast
When: Saturday, March 10th at 5pm
What: Learn from industry disruptors like Glossier and Instagram about their rise to “cult brand status”. How do they foster loyalty? How do they view their competitors? Do they even see themselves as a cult brand? It’s always cool to hear how brands describe their identity and their customers, especially when the brands are as well-known as the ones on this panel.
Sunday, March 11th:
When Programmers are Asked to do the Unethical
Who: Bazaarvoice, Business Insider, Demastery.com, Fullstack Academy
When: Sunday, March 11th at 11am
What: In today’s world, it is not uncommon for a company’s unethical practices to be outed to the public; Volkswagon is still dealing with the repercussions of “Dieselgate.” In this session, panelists, including our VP of Ethics and Compliance, will discuss how software programmers can be asked to create work that contributes to illicit or unethical business practices. What can be done to rectify a culture like this? How can employees blow the whistle without fear of retaliation?
Power to the People: Turn Employee Ideas Into Gold
Who: Bazaarvoice, Blinds.com (Home Depot), LinkedIn, Workify
When: Sunday, March 11th at 5pm
What: Employees are often the biggest untapped source for great ideas at a company. And, in addition to missing out on great ideas, a disconnect between an organization and its people will can lead to a toxic culture (Think: Google, Amazon, Uber). Our Chief People Officer, Ryan Robinson, will join experts from LinkedIn, Workify, and Blinds.com to discuss how companies can break down barriers to employee feedback and creativity in their organizations.
Monday, March 12th:
How NASA and LEGO Embrace Open Innovation
Who: The LEGO Group, NASA/Johnson Space Center, Tongal
When: Monday, March 12th at 12:30pm
What: This panel had me just at the mention of NASA and LEGO. Speakers representing companies at the forefront of innovation will talk about how they are embracing creative diversity and using technology to connect minds everywhere. As an avid follower of NASA’s projects, I will be interested to hear how adopting an open innovation model is helping the speed at which they generate ideas and more efficiently solve their biggest challenges.
Tuesday, March 13th:
Breaking Digital Facades: It’s Time to Take Tech Back
Who: Brian Soli, Altimeter Group (Featured Session)
When: Tuesday, March 13th at 9:30am
What: If you want to see a major tech industry expert in action, this is the featured session for you. Brian Solis is an author, consultant, and futurist with expertise in customer experience, disruption, and digital trends. Expect this session to make you think in ways you haven’t before.
Wednesday, March 14th:
Next-Gen Content Marketing: Reaching Digital Natives
Who: Intuit, Netflix, Pinterest, W2O Group
When: Wednesday, March 14th at 2pm
What: Social, video, live, long-form, native, print — the variety of content that you can create for your brand can be overwhelming. Learn how Netflix, Intuit, and Pinterest use research and data insights to determine their content strategy and how each of these brands sees content evolving in the future.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will descend on Austin over the next two weeks for a whirlwind of content, music, film, food, and (sometimes too much) fun. If you’re one of them, we hope this list of top SXSW Interactive panels will help you check one thing off your list. If you plan to attend one of the panels that Bazaarvoice is on, we’ll see you there!