SXSW 2016 – Day 4

The early bird gets the worm… or in our case at SXSW, we at least get a seat. About 30 minutes prior to each conference, the lines extend beyond a couple hundred feet down the halls from the entrance. Once they scan your badge, the race for prime seating is on. End of aisle seats are the most sought after. Luckily, we landed prime seating at the 9:30, “Designing Behavior Change at Scale.”  There has been a rise in design to incite the consumer to remain engaged and drive behavioral change. “Mint” for finance, “Nest” for energy use and temperature control and even “Weight Watchers” for dietary monitoring are examples of these apps. The other side of this is to invoke philanthropic involvement and the desire to be part of a cause. The question to be answered is: how do we design with that intention of creating behavior as the value proposition? The recommendation is to begin with research. Ask the question of what are people thinking and what are they currently doing on the topic. Build that database of analysis on the current environment and competitive landscape. Next comes the strategy; what can we do to gain momentum for that cause? Develop empathy and understanding with your insights to make a movement. Once you determine the outcome, behavior and interactions, you can concept and move on to paint the picture for design. We are actually supporting a movement for a client and it’s encouraging to hear the needed steps taken to design to provoke action. Stay tuned on whether our designs will make a movement happen. We advanced to the next line to wait out another conference.

ferris wheel

“Rethinking Healthcare through Design Thinking” was a collaborative conversation between the University of Texas’s Dell Medical School and IDEO contributors. While the conversation delved deeply into the need of supportive health system tech infrastructure designs to lead the transition mentioned in preceding blog posts, there were some thought-provoking points to be taken out of the conversation for us as marketers. “Designs tend to be about aesthetics.” Which is even true for most creative designs that we’ve seen (and we’re no exception to this). Lifestyle imagery of people living their healthy lives or hugging and shaking hands with their providers seems a bit staged and mundane for the industry at this stage. The recommendation for design inspiration comes from experiencing the ground floor of the clinics. “Never do focus groups. Spend time in the field. That is the only way to align creativity.” Looks like we’ll be sending the design team to the doctor for a dose of creative brainstorming.
green screen

It was lunch time at this point so we made our way over to the McDonald’s lounge to say hello to a few friends we’d met during the days here in Austin. The lounge is a break area away from the hustle and bustle with a cool vibe that rejuvenates the senses. With recharged bodies (and cell phones), we moved on to the longest line and session that we’d committed to at SXSW.

SXSW Music

“Sucking Less When Presenting Creative” was a great name that drew another enormous crowd. Standing against the walls, people that did not get a seat jotted notes on their small note pads as the presenter outlined the very helpful steps for prep work, the presentation itself, and after thoughts. Here was the framework:

  1. Before the presentation: The creative team should build a relationship with the client. It is important for them to establish themselves with the client during discovery meetings to build trust. Bring competitive analysis and creative samples as a basis to compare against and ask the question “Are you more like this, or are you more like this?” Design a minimum of two, but no more than 4, comps of the design for the client to review. Never supply a sneak peak of the designs before the reveal. Clients may request to review the comps ahead of the meeting, but account teams should support creative to avoid criticism without the grasp of a full explanation that comes in the presentation. There is too much room for interpretation that early on and you could run into a cyclical issue of change orders much too early on. Prepare the room well in advance, on your own home field, to avoid any technological issues and be comfortable in the room.
  2. During the Presentation: The accounts team should always set up the conversation by bridging the work and explaining how we got where we are today. Reiterate all goals, client feedback, recommendations and decisions on strategy. This background should set up the structure and align all parties before revealing the comps. Show the creative in context by placing the creative in the format or channel that they will be seen. This means that outdoor boards should be seen on outdoor boards, mobile displays on mobile devices, etc. Now they don’t literally need to be seen on those channels in the first iteration, but visually framed in on flats to supply needed context. Each comp should be named and there should be a story. We should avoid “Option A” and “Option B” but rather clever names to tie them in to the strategy. The story should be simple and without drama. Focus and guide the client through the designs on each channel with very brief explanations. Provide options but make the recommendation. Ignore any minor mistakes – it is likely that they are not noticed by the client. NEVER ignore glaringly obvious mistakes. Apologize, correct it and move on. Never resurrect creative designs that were not presented. Even if the client is not in love with any presented, you presented them for a reason and avoided others. Finally, end with a visual summary. Explain the thought process in the design and put a bow on it. Then try to end the meeting early. This allows the client their valuable time back, and avoids lengthy conversation to belabor with critique.
  3. After the Presentation: Align the team. Debrief on all next steps and assignments. Follow up quickly with the client and do not allow too much time to go by without a decision.

Most of the audience agreed that this is a process that many (including us) have in place, but there is always room for improvement. #NeverStopLearning, #CreateWithoutLimits
Another successful day at SXSW was topped off with some live music and free drinks with a vendor that invited us to their happy hour. We felt obligated to say hello and hear what they were offering. Just another day at South by.

Sucking Less

Casey Floyd – Exec. Digital Director
Tommy DiGioia – Exec. Creative Director

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