By: Lauren Bogle
Since starting this agency, it’s been my goal to attend innovative conferences that motivate our team to learn advertising trends and changes while also providing an opportunity to bond together as a team and share in our experiences. Investing internally in our brand, team and skills has been numero uno priority of mine, so I make room in our budget for professional development opportunities.
Last year, I attended SXSW for mostly film opportunities. I was excited to attend the conference this year with more of an entrepreneurial focus. I was pumped to attend entrepreneurial focused keynotes, educational panels and digital marketing focused conferences. Common threads among most of the sessions I attended were vulnerability in leadership and embodying the strengths and weaknesses that men and women possess when being entrepreneurs.
After we were settled in our @AirBNB, which was a bomb three story townhouse we booked a year in advance, we hit the downtown pavement at @SXSW. I jumped at the opportunity to hear from Chief Brand Officer of WWE, Stephanie McMahon at Fearless Women in Action. A couple key takeaways included:
1. Make a big bet. Bet on yourself and your team. Trust in your team.
2. Let urgency conquer fear.
3. Fail in the footsteps of giants.
4. Before pitching concepts to clients, poke holes in all of it.
5. Women are great about being fierce for other people but we don’t fight for ourselves.
6. Do what you do best and build the team around strengthening your weaknesses.
Next up, I attended a live taping of Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz’s podcast with bubbly in hand. Tough, I know. It was a good opportunity to hear from influencers about being authentic and always challenging yourself to evolve. Also, when pitching to influencers, make sure the right campaign is the right fit. Influencers protect their brand so that they remain authentic to their followers. Following that session, I unexpectedly ended up in the Gymnastics 2.0 and a New Era in Women’s Sports with former olympians. The biggest takeaways there were to speak up, ask questions and there is strength in numbers. That panel was a tough one to sit through and hear what they personally went through, but it was a privilege to learn from extremely tough athletes.
Another session I got to be a part of was Womanhood, Motherhood and Entrepreneurship. The key takeaways were financial independence, emotional independence, commitment to diversity and inclusion and vulnerability in leadership.
I started the day in the big ballroom early to get a good spot, and first up was Creativity in the Age of Invention. This session was extremely interesting when talking through the “Big Idea” myth in the agency world and making sure creatives are involved with account reps at the beginning of the creative process. This approach ensures that the creative idea they develop can actually be executed on the new digital platforms. The session brought up how agencies need to master the new mediums and then design their companies around them. He also mentioned that if you treat people like sh**, your ability to be a generous leader and encourage collaboration among your team will surely digress. We need to encourage places of work where employees can take risks.
Next up was Entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow. A couple nuggets I took away from her session include:
1. Stop worrying about what people think of you.
2. We need more vulnerable leaders in business.
3. Learn to say no.
4. Give constructive feedback.
5. Manage and foster your customers and your culture.
6. Lean on mentors for advice.
Paltrow also talked about the disease to please. She said we are raised to be the cool chick, to be down with anything and don’t rock the boat and that is not a good thing especially in business.
Following Paltrow was Design is the Key Differentiator with ASAP Rocky and Mercedes-Benz’s Garden Wagener. They discussed how the brand is always the star and the Benz brand is strong. He said they’ve moved it from generation to generation. ASAP talked about how the word luxury continues to change and it’s different per person and audience. Wagener said when designing the new cars minimalism and simplicity is key for their brand. It’s harder to try and keep things simple and clean vs putting everything into a design that every person wants.
The last session of the day included a conversation with Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. They talked about selling Instagram to Facebook and how their approach was, “If you’re going to sell your company, sell it to a company that is going to be a rocket ship. Our goal was to do what was best for the growth of the app and its audience,” Systrom said. They talked about how Instagram wasn’t about how much money they could make, it was about working with great and talented people who believed in the development.
Krieger also addressed how social media might influence people’s perceptions. “Talk about authenticity .... Everyone wants to be real but really nobody wants to expose their own flaws.” They ended with trying not to talk to the recent changes of the platform. “Instagram doesn’t serve us, it serves the community. Instagram succeeding is everything to that audience and to us,” Systrom said.
All in all, SXSW was incredible and what I loved most was our team outings on 6th street and drinking wine on our patio at night, playing games and getting to know each other. I love the culture we are building here at The Bogle Agency and I love providing an opportunity for our team to grow in their professional development. I’m most excited to take these nuggets and apply them in my business, leadership, agency services and clientele development.