What We’re Planning at SXSW, 2011, & Why We Hope We’re Worth Your Vote

On the road to Austin (photo credit: Bud Caddell, 2010)

Anyone who knows us well will already know we’re big fans of SXSW. As conferences go, it’s a glorious, greasy, gratifyingly mad brain melt of great speakers and great company all located in the strangest city ever to find itself in Texas.

Next year, we’d like to go back and do a little more than take copious notes during the day & earn our Super Swarm badges at the parties. So, here is a short outline giving you a quick rundown of the panels we’re hoping to be a part of. Many of them are around the same broad theme of agency re-engineering; we’re unapologetic about that, it’s what we’re especially interested in. Anyway, you know the gig, we won’t be doing ANY of these things without your votes and comments to help us on our way. So, this is also a huge advance thank you. We’re planning a party too, so hope to see you there over a beer and thank you in person (more on this nearer the time). In fact, you can come to that even if you don’t vote for us, but just pretend you did . . .

The Last of the Launch-and-Leave-‘Ems

First up, our friends at Made by Many have invited Mel (@melex) to join their panel examining what happens to the role of agencies and brands as they move deeper into digital platforms and an always-on world. Definitely one for people who make things, and are keen to explore how different agencies are approaching the challenges of what happens *after* you’ve made them.

Why is this interesting? Because what happens after launch – let’s call it propagation and perpetuation – is challenging most agencies’ resourcing models, processes, structures and remuneration frameworks. We all have much to learn.

Find out more, vote and add your support here.

Agency Structure: Where Do We Fit New Creatives?

Rachel Mercer, VCU Brandcenter has asked Ben (@malbonnington) to join a panel looking at the impact new skills are having on agency structure and creative development. In particular, the need to add specialist skills is creating challenges for agencies looking to work more collaboratively and more swiftly. The other panellists sharing their experiences and observations include Rick Webb, Owner, The Barbarian Group & Edward Boches, Chief Creative Officer, Mullen.

Why is this interesting? Because creative businesses are built almost entirely on, and around, talent, and how that’s managed and liberated. It’s simply pointless hiring in expensive and awesomely-skilled new talent if the operating system of the agency has not been re-formatted to welcome them and use them appropriately.

Find out more, vote and add your support here.

Ad Agencies Need A New Mindset To Survive

This panel has been put together by the powerhouse that is Edward Boches at Mullen and features Ben (@malbonnington). Edward’s tackling an immense topic, examining the steps agencies need to take to alter mindset, strategy and team composition; the mistakes we’re most likely to make and how to cope with the disruption along the way. Edward will not only be drawing on his own experiences at Mullen; other panellists include Rob Schwartz, CCO at Chiat Day & John Winsor, Founder & CEO of Victors & Spoils.

Why is it interesting? Because all creative businesses should probably be asking questions such as: what do we need to do to survive? What are the practices we must unlearn? What new skills do we require?

Find out more, vote and add your support here.

The Power of What We Don’t Wear

BBH NY’s Heidi Hackemer (@uberblond) has put together a panel taking a look at the issues around consumption, downsizing and The New Austerity raised by her (very awesome indeed) social experiment project, sixitemsorless.com. On the panel will be the two co-founders of the project, Heidi, and Tamsin Davies, Head of Innovation at Fallon London. Two Sixer participants will join Heidi and Tamsin: Stephen Riley, Creative Director at Arc Worldwide, Chicago, and Kirsty Saddler, Planning Director at BBH New York and head of BBH Hive, BBH’s CSR group. The panel will be moderated by Ben Malbon.

Why is this interesting? Because Six Items or Less is a case study on how we can use simple ideas to motivate real behavioral change in people. It’s about doing, not just saying.

Find out more, vote and add your support here.

Building a Killer Professional & Personal Network

BBH NY Director of Media Innovation Saneel Radia (@saneel)┬áis lined up to join this panel organized by Arc Worldwide’s Stephen Riley (@stephenriley) examining those grey areas many professional in a connected world find themselves in. How does my digital persona align with my physical one? What’s a reasonable request to make of people in my network? How can I self-promote without coming across as a douchebag?

Why is it interesting: Networks are more important than ever, but the lines between professional networks and personal networks have gotten blurry. Few standards exist to help us get the most out of our networks. This panel will attempt to answer some of those hard, unvoiced questions.

Find out more, vote and add your support here.

Post-Party Lustre Pearl, SXSWi, March 2010 (photo credit: Ben Malbon, 2010)

And for more on what Made by Many are up to at SXSW check out @saradotdub‘s post on the topic here.

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