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SXSW 2013: Day 2 — Brand Fans, Yammer + Matthew McConaughey

DGC reporting live from day 2 at SXSWi 2013! The festival is in full gear, with early to mid-morning panels so packed lines were snaked around buildings and one-in, one-out policies were being enforced. We did manage to make a few sessions that boosted big names and big brands. Among them:

Brand Fans, the New Brand MarketersModerated by Mashable’s Todd Wasserman and featuring Facebook Creative Strategist Kevin Knight, PepsiCo’s Global Head of Digital Shiv Singh, and Frito-Lay’s Sr. Director of Brand Marketing Jen Saenz, this panel covered the rise of crowdsourcing, its merits, and how it’s disrupting traditional marketer/agency relationships.

PepsiCo has crowdsourced a number of brand initiatives, including Do Us A Flavor, a flavor naming and defining contest for Lay’s, and Crash the Super Bowl, a contest for user-generated commercials for Doritos.

Why crowdsource?  It’s a way to engage consumers with a brand in a personal matter on their own terms, Saenz said. What’s more, at a time when consumers have their own media channels in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it’s a natural way to extend reach and drive the all-powerful personal stamp of approval for a brand, Singh said. Wasserman asked if crowdsourcing – with its focus on the wisdom of crowds — lessens the need for ad agencies and marketing skills. Knight replied that great creative agencies makes strong emotional connections between consumers and brands, so the best ones will be able to use crowsourcing as a tool to make even better marketing.

Insights about InnovationA “Fireside chat” featuring CEO and Founder Jason Calacanis interviewing Yammer Founder and CEO David Sacks (also the former Chief Operating Officer of PayPal).  This wide-ranging discussion covered Sacks’ views on the four big players in tech and what he looks for when funding a startup.

Sacks said he only wants to invest in companies that will overhaul an industry – his latest investment, Houzz, is an app for remodeling homes – and that the first question he asks of new products is: does it promote a behavior I can see consumers engaging in?  When asked about copycat products and services in the tech world, he quoted the famous Picasso saying “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal,” and said that one of the greatest flaws in a product managers is excessive pride.

And lastly, a little Page Six-style gossip: SXSWi is teeming with celebrities.  So far, our team has spotted New Girl’s Jake Johannsen, Two and a Half Men’s Chuck Lorre, Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, Matthew Just Keep Livin’ McConaughey and one of this DGC’ers personal heroes: David Carr of the New York Times. Signing off for now …

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