SXSW 2015: How Do Brands Stand Out?

One of the most pressing concerns at this year’s SXSWi was how brands can distinguish themselves in the mind of the consumer, especially in an increasingly commoditized marketplace. “The retailers in the best position are those that bring values in ways other than just inventory,” Ben Kaufman of Quirky noted. We’ve seen a few predictions at SXSW about how brands will modify their approach:

Personalization “if you’re a vegetarian, we shouldn’t be sending you coupons for a Baconator,” says Wendy’s Brian Kirby. The advantage of mobile payments and digital loyalty programs is better consumer data. The consumer experience can now be scalably personal.

Value At a panel on native advertising, Nikhil Sethi from Adaptly pushed toward a future of “pull.” “There is no ‘native’ anymore,” he says. “It’s about brands building content for consumers.” If the value proposition for a brand experience needs to be established early and often, consumers will seek it out.

Efficiency The panel observed that rather than inventory, the real scarcity was attention. So the challenge isn’t to create more, but rather better, content in order to capture that finite attention. The line between creative agency and publisher is blurring, so each actor needs to take on multiple roles. Maybe, the panel thought, native programmatic could become a reality — though Sethi found that “idealistic.” For now, it’s about efficiency.