9 things we can learn about Live Marketing Activations from SXSW


Thousands of dollars are spent each year on booths, giveaways, and conferences in hopes to gain new business or build brand awareness. Thousands of dollars are also wasted on boring setups and lame ass giveaways that no one ever uses. Are you creating memorable experiences or just wasting space and money? Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your next live activation. 


1. Interactive Activities

When creating an effective marketing activation, don't just focus on aesthetics, give people something to do! Dell did a great job with this at the #DellExperience with their build your own salt scrub station. It was random as hell but it kept me occupied as I finished my wine.

2. Consistent Branding

The difference between a rookie activation and an O.G is consistent branding. We should be able to see and feel your brand in all aspects of your activation. The Girls Lounge did a great job with this, even the DJ booth was creatively branded, re-named The SHE-J. 

3. Lighting and Ambiance

Lighting is the easiest way to create an ambiance without having to overdo it  with decoration. It sets the mood and gives a festive ambiance. 


4. Live Entertainment

Live Entertainment is always a plus! However, timing is crucial because you don't want your live entertainment to be too distracting and interrupt good conversations. I would recommend coordinating live entertainment during lunch time when people are taking a break to eat, or early evening while people are unwinding for the day.

5. Comfort and Convenience

When creating your marketing activation ask yourself, what would attract me to stay? Comcast Social Media Lounge did a great job with this. The created a chill lounge vibe fully equipped with charging stations and outlets so you could charge up while watching live interviews. 

6. Live Feedback

Feedback is a gift, and you should always survey participants to determine the effectiveness of your activation . Why wait till after? I love how IBM asked for how we felt right in the middle of their activation, instead of sending a survey afterwards that probably would just go to spam. 

7. Photo Ops

Get with the program. The selfie is LIFE. Always try to incorporate creative backdrops and photo opportunities in your setups. E.L.F. had a cute little YouCam Makeup booth that allowed you to take selfies using filters that gave you complete digital makeovers!

8. Showcase your Values

What do you stand for? What are your values? Studies show that the first step to creating brand love is to align yourself with principals. Dell did an amazing job visually showcasing there recycling initiatives and how they give back. 

9. Tell a Story

Take us through a journey! Giorgio Armani did an amazing job of this during their activation. They created an experience called the Film of City Frames, where they teamed up with students to create narratives built around the designer's Frames of Life eye-wear collection.