Mar 22, 2017 / by Lacey Miller

The TrendKite tribe is growing at an incredible pace, 200+ now! And we’ve got some of the most interesting people, backgrounds, experiences, and interests of any office I have ever worked in, so I asked the team:

“What was your top moment of SXSW 2017?”

The responses are awesome! From top panels to VIP guests lists, here is a fun preview of how TrendKite took on SXSW! (Don't miss the last one; it's the best!)

LACEY MILLER - Content Marketing

Being in marketing, I always ‘geek-out’ on what other brands are doing, and I’m constantly wondering how to make a successful impact during SXSW. There are massive amounts of people who come to Austin; there is so much noise. So how do you make your event stand out?

Try inviting Ja speak! But that’s just a tiny piece...

Yes, I’m talking about the Bazaarvoice event. They did an INCREDIBLE job! Starting with the event-specific branding: when you walked into the event, Bazaarvoice had set up a stunning flower wall, huge company logo right in the middle. And what did everyone do when they walked in? They took a photo with the wall. Success. Get people in the door and immediately give them a reason to post an image, with your logo, on social channels. And the event branding didn’t stop there. Bazaarvoice employees were wearing floral jackets, shirts, even branded bandanas. It gave the event a cohesiveness and feeling of exclusivity, even though you and thousands of your “friends” were also invited.

But let’s get to the real value of the event, the panels.

I can’t speak highly enough about the quality of speakers at this event. And even though the day started at 10a, every chair was full at the very first panel. I could write an entire post about each panel (read BV's blog) but one person really stood out for me, Jennifer Dalipi with COTY Inc.. Even on a panel with Ja Rule, she stood out and had incredible things to say about being authentic in today’s advertising world.


Two of my favorite quotes from Jennifer:


"There's nothing greater for a brand than to think about return on relationship."


"I need to be witty, innovative, and clever but if I don't deliver with my product, then it's not authentic."

Ja Rule also added incredible value. You may have thought the draw was his performance, but really, he had amazing insight and a lot more to offer than his mad rap skills ;) But I’ve got to wrap this up so, thank you for the invite, Bazaarvoice, you guys nailed it!


ELIZA COHEN - Account Management

If you ask SXSW attendee for their favorite part about the festival, you’re likely to get a breadth of responses ranging from “the parties!”, “the excitement!” or “the innovation!” For me personally, my favorite part of SXSW interactive has always been the connection that is fostered by the environment. This was especially reinforced this year, my seventh SXSW, as (part of 3 major company events) TrendKite sponsored the official premiere of Tyler McIntyre’s feature “Tragedy Girls”, starring Craig Robinson and Kevin Durand. For the premiere, both SXSW and TrendKite’s power to connect people to experience was ubiquitous — sitting next to movie stars like Craig Robinson (enjoying his mojito) while chatting with our longtime customers, Eli Draluk and Brianne Brewer from Burson Marsteller. As SXSW has now come to an end, the final banners are being taken down on 6th street (right down the street from our office), and I’ve had time to reflect on the past ten days, I’ve come to realize that these are the moments and connections that truly make working at TrendKite and participating in SXSW so special.


MATTHEW HENG - Customer Marketing

This SXSW, I was blessed with a badge, so I stuck to the larger panels and keynote presentations during the festival. The presentation that's stuck with me the most is the Convergence Keynote given by Jessica Shortall, Managing Director of Texas Competes, a coalition of more than 1,200 Texas companies making the data-driven case for Texas to be welcoming to LGBTQ people. As an LGBTQ person working in tech, this keynote really brought into perspective how lucky I am to be a part of a welcoming community at TrendKite and in Austin.

You can watch the keynote here or learn more about Texas Competes here:

Another one of the more entertaining (and tweet inducing!) panels I attended was Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, speaking about covering the presidential election and the presidency. There were some great tidbits about journalism's responsibility to society and the convergence of print and digital media. This one stuck out to me above so many other because it was a truly honest discussion about how the most powerful media organization in the world covers the most powerful man in the world.

Key takeaway: “This is not a business. This is a mission. We don’t do things for clicks.” - Dean Baquet

SHANE MAHN - Senior Marketing Designer

I attended HBO’s Escape Room which featured 3 themed rooms you and a group of friends must tear apart to find clues and advance to the next room. Here’s an abridged version of what went down. Room 1 was decorated to look like the Oval Office in Veep. The instructions are given on a presidential teleprompter. After breaking into a ballot-box (the ballots shot out like the old, snake in the peanut can gag), you receive the combination to the locked door.

Room 2 was a replica of the living-room in Silicon Valley, complete with work-stations, dry-erase boards and a box of ping pong balls that apparently “tipped over” by itself. Directions are sent to one of the computers as an instant message. After a computer short-circuits, causing the room to go dark, you receive a glow-in-the-dark secret code and are allowed access to the next room.

Then you enter room 3 and realize a) It’s snowing (alarming as we are currently in Austin, Texas and it was 80 and sunny) and b) We’re now standing inside the Game of Thrones’ Castle Black. The directions are found on a scroll written to the Brothers of the Night’s Watch and the puzzle begins. We must find different sized cogs around the room, place them on the table in the center of the room, and turn crank open the door to freedom. While looking for cogs you realize, not only are there three hooded dead bodies in the corner but AHHH!!!! ONE OF THEM IS ALIVE!!

After finding all of said cogs we made our way out of the rooms and took a celebratory group photo on the Iron Throne. I mean, I would have done a lot more just to get a photo on the Throne, but it was a well deserved reward at the end.

On your way out, you’re offered a sampling of either the red or white Game of Thrones wine. (Not bad, Tyrion) And as it turns out, we just missed some members of the cast of GOT. All in all, it was a smart and engaging little interactive piece that was the perfect amount of advertising and experiential fun. I give it 4 out of 5 desperate tech nerds.


RAY ROBERTS - Marketing Prospecting Specialist


Sometimes SXSW is uneventful and sometimes you meet the whole band and get a spot on the VIP guest started when I caught the Earl St. Clair show, part of the Pandora stage, just as SXSW Music kicked off. And, serendipitously, he followed me on Twitter that evening. Fast forward to the next day, and I actually got to meet him, while fighting traffic on Wednesday. To continue the incredible series of coincidences, I met 2 of his band members walking back from lunch on Thursday. By then it was just fate and I had made enough of an impression that Earl put me on the guest list for his Def Jam show for that evening. But it doesn’t stop there and it gets better! The icing on the cake….after the Def Jam show, Earl was shooting his new music video riding around Austin in a pedicab; he saw me, stopped, jumped out, gave me a big hug, and then decided to get about 10 to 15 minutes of footage with the both of us riding around in the pedicab together singing the record. CRAZY.

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About Lacey Miller

Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.