Snipper of the Week: Scott Williams
Welcome to Snipper of the Week. Every week, we profile a Snip.it user with particularly interesting collections through a Q&A on what’s currently happening in their areas of interest. This week, we ask advertising and branding guru Scott Williams to share his thoughts on “Homeless Hotspots” at SXSW, what sort of marketing matters, and Tobasco sauce.
City: Greensboro, North Carolina
Snipping Since: September, 2011
Occupation: President at Relationship Branding firm, Emisare, Inc.
Daily Reads: CoDesign, Google’s Think Quarterly, AdAge, Adweek, Good, The Verge, Mashable, Gilt Home.
Top Snip.it collections: SXSW, Social, Infographics & Visualizations, Brands On…
SXSW is a branding frenzy. Do you think it’s still relevant as a place to get noticed?
A lot of people don’t like the commercialization of SXSW. They think it’s just a game of one brand trying to outdo the other. And in a sense it is. But I find it very interesting to see what people are trying to do to get attention. There are some very smart and simple ideas — like Chevy Volt taxi-ing people around and talking about the car’s features — and also some very odd ones, like using QR codes last year as if it was something new. Visibility at SXSW is becoming more and more expensive. The rule of thumb is that unless you are a big sponsor and throwing a lot of money at it, the damage is to be done from 8 pm on. It’s all about where you can get into, and who you can meet.
I have to ask you about this year’s most controversial attention-getter: Homeless Hotspots
The people who did that should just be put in jail. It’s just a terrible idea that probably ranks in the top 20 stupidest things to do, ever.
Do you think anyone “won” SXSW?
Everyone is talking about Highlight, but beyond SXSW, I’m not sure if the traction will ever be there. It’s good for events, but then it’s sort of out of sight, out of mind. There’s an idea there, but this isn’t it quite yet.
What are you most excited about, out of SXSW?
I’m a huge fan of Everything.me. I think it’s the future of search. It’s not an app, but it works just like an app. I think this is going to be the next wave, and it’s one of the most well done implementations I’ve ever seen.
Let’s take a step back and talk about branding on a larger scale today.
Many brands, marketers and ad people are still using the same processes today that they’ve been using for years. But the world has changed tremendously and it’s just not effective anymore. The whole world is connected — your partners and consumers are just a click away. Yet the old organizational, siloed processes are still in effect. It’s very odd. People have a tendency to do what they know, yet we live in an age of chaos and disruption. It’s a different world than many were trained to deal with. In fact, Fast Company hosted an event at SXSW on this exact topic called Generation Flux.
So how can brands work to be more effective today?
Many brands are overcome with tactics, and are throwing darts at the wall. Really, what they should focus on is “why” they’re in business in the first place.
In another year or two, there won’t be any “social media” — it’ll just be another channel, another method to connect with and engage people. Some brands are really starting to get it, but so many are paralyzed by what the internet brings. The easy (but incorrect) method is to focus on the hottest options — not necessarily where you’ll connect best with your audiences — and pick them off one by one. We get a lot of inquiries from companies looking for assistance with their Twitter or Pinterest strategy (the current du jour), etc. — and it’s all wrong. You have to focus on the big picture. It’s about how to deliver on your promise and purpose. Then let it your efforts flow from there.
Alright, on to March Madness. I know you’re a UNC fan. Who’s in your Final Four?
I have UNC winning it all, obviously. And my Final Four is Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State and Murray State. Watch out for Murray State this year.
And I’m going to surmise from your “Ode to Tobasco” collection, that you’re pretty into the stuff.
Tobasco is like salt to me. It goes on everything I eat.
Oh yeah, I go through an 8 ounce bottle every couple of weeks. I put it on eggs, grits, hamburgers, salads, soups. The Habanero one is my new favorite.
I’ll have to try that. Does Tobasco really cure a hangover?
It hasn’t for me. But then again, I might be immune.
What are your favorite Snip.it collections?
From Arab Malaise to Spring is absolutely fascinating. I also love all the Music and Infographics collections. Also, the in-depth on SXSW is good way to keep up-to-date with all the happenings, since I wasn’t able to go to Austin this year.
You can subscribe to Scott’s Snip.it collections here.