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Published March 16th 2019

SXSW: Our Biggest Takeaways and the House of Influence

Brandwatch was on the scene at SXSW where we launched our very own House of Influence. Here are our key takeaways from the festival.

SXSW 2019 was one of the most buzzed about SXSWs we’ve seen in years.

There were apocalyptic zombie angels. There was the Daily Show’s ‘Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library’. There was Game of Thrones. There were scooters…scooters, everywhere.

There was also the Brandwatch House of Influence – read on to find out more.

But first, here are a few key highlights we witnessed this year, and each of them were huge in the SXSW conversation on social media.

SXSW 2019: Our highlights

1. Politics dominated

Big-ticket names like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Howard Schultz, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke made appearances at SXSW.

In a controversial moment, Warren spoke about regulations to “break up” big tech companies like Google and Facebook. Meanwhile, AOC was a top trending topic throughout the festival, especially around her workplace automation comments.

2. HBO winning again

With the challenge of topping last year’s buzz-worthy Westworld activation, HBO created a unique promotion for the final season of Game of Thrones in partnership with the American Red Cross.

Attendees were encouraged to “bleed for the throne,” by donating blood in a renaissance fair-like event. Several Brandwatchers signed up to #BleedForTheThrone, and #ForTheThrone and #GameofThrones became trending topics during the early days of the festival.

3. Social networks took center stage

The co-founders of Instagram, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, spoke together on stage for the first time since leaving Facebook last year.

They addressed social media’s problem with authenticity and when asked about Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to regulate big tech and break up Facebook and Instagram, Systrom joked, “Do we get our job back?”

4. AI everything

AI was inserted into a large number of discussions, moving beyond the broad strokes of the past to narrowly focus on applicable topics like healthcare, food/agriculture, finance, and workplace issues.

5. Going global

Move over DC House – this year saw an enormous influx of global activations.

Brazil, Germany, Australia, Japan and Scandinavia were all represented, and each house showcased exciting start-ups, their economy, and tourism.

We even saw a Michigan house!

House of Influence

Brandwatch also had our own house this year – the House of Influence. We collaborated with our partners PWC, MSL, Twitter, and Converseon to host guests in a series of salon style executive dinners featuring incredible menus, cocktails, and presentations.

Our oasis away from crowded E. 6th and Rainey Streets provided an idyllic venue for execs and influencers alike to network and share their stories.

One of our partners, MSL, used the event to launch their exciting new “MSL Fluency” offering, which marries human expertise with data and analytics to more easily conduct global influencer campaigns while also looking out for fraud.

Center stage at our House of Influence was the delicious food, curated and cooked up by the award winning Keepwell Vinegar team. Each night featured a special theme in the spirit of our partners with locally sourced ingredients, brought to life by this culinary team.

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Helmed by Sarah Conezio and Isaiah Billington, the night’s menus were dreamed up to celebrate the partnerships with each sponsor. From whole local hogs cut down and used from nose to tail to a Twitter night with a “Flight Plan” and eggs in every course, the chefs took the diners on a culinary journey unique to the House.

Look out for more House of Influence events in the future, and please reach out if you are interested in a similar partnership with Brandwatch!

See you at SXSW 2020!

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