Once again, we've teamed up with the producers of SXSW to bring together big brands, small starts-ups, and innovative thinkers for a series of panels rich in content and lively discussion. 

This year it's all about small.

Our four panels will focus on micro entrepreneurs, nano-targeting and the power of small communities. Brands such as Ford, Salesforce and Coca-Cola will join entrepreneurial companies such as Etsy and HomeAway to talk about the direction digital business is headed. 

Please join us Sunday, March 9 at Wanderlust Studio. If you can't make it to Austin, follow @HKSdigital and #nanosizeme for live updates and make sure to check back in here for post-event recaps. 

Panel 1 // 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Andrew Bleeker
​Global Digital Lead, 
Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Linda Boff
​Executive Director, 
Global Brand Marketing, GE

Doreen Lorenzo
President, Quirky.com

Deborah Estrin
Professor of Computer Sciences, Cornell Tech;Professor of public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, Co-Founder, Open mHealth

Steve Haro
Director, Brand Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Nano Size Me: The Science of Small Talk 

Neat, FitBit and Google Glass are a whole new set of data mining tools that generate huge volumes of information on how we eat, exercise, travel, and use energy, for example. 

This panel explores how marketers can turn small data into the science of persuasion, increasing personalization and ultimately delivering the right message (or service), to the right person at the right time, and why this matters for companies large and small. 


Panel 2 // 11:00 AM - Noon

James Anstey
​Senior Vice President, Digital,  
Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Karen Untereker
​U.S. Social Media Manager, 
Ford Motor Company

Kip Havel
Director, Corporate Communications, AFLAC 

Paull Young
Director of Digital, Charity:Water 

Jessi Langsen
​Food blogger and Digital Strategist
Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Nano Size Me: How Small Communities Will Take Over the World

The bigger the Internet gets, the more we seek intimacy and community. Passions and interests bind us - and in doing so give marketers unique insights and opportunities to reach their audiences. How does this approach fit and feed broader marketing initiatives? How different is this from "communities of interest" in the past and what does the future hold? 


Panel 3 // 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Natalie Foster
​Executive Director and 
Co-Founder, Peers 

Anthony Marino
CMO, Thredup

Noah Karesh
CEO, Feastly 

Althea Erickson
​Policy Director, Etsy 

Mathieu Stevenson
Senior Director, North American Marketing, HomeAway 

Nano Size Me: The Currency of Sharing

The "Sharing Economy" is not new - hundreds of years ago humans had systems of bartering and trading; now we have Etsy and HomeAway, and the ability to find exactly what we want or create exactly what someone else wants. 

This economic model is here to stay, so what is next? And how does digital play a role? Can anyone be a "micropreneur" these days? How does this impact business models for Fortune 500 companies. 


Panel 4 // 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Ashley Brown
​Director, Digital Communications and Social Media, Coca-Cola

Michael Zuna 

Adam Brown
Executive Strategist, Salesforce

Judy Ko
Senior Vice President, Content and Customer Marketing, Informatica

Nano Size Me: Too Much Ado About Nano? Why Size Still Matters 

While niche is rich with marketing promise, the fact remains that mass marketing still works (really well). Even campaigns that "go viral" typically do so after they hit mass media. Hear what some top CMOs have to say about nano targeting, its future impact on the bottom line and how they balance the move toward small with the need to drive big results. 


Click here to download our complete SXSW 2014 information packet. 

1. Influencer relationships will change.

Stakes are so much higher now that the value of influencers has progressed from just being PR-led, to ad-led. As such, these individuals know their own value – and are asking for fees to match it. Higher regulation, overuse of the same people and mistrust from consumers in the authenticity of influencer commentary means that using digital behaviours & data to select the right people to work with will become key in 2016.

The brand/influencer dynamic will also have to shift, and we’ll see smarter companies playing the role of enablers (empowering people with high levels of influence to use that in a responsible way, or to do the things they dream of) – rather than dictators of ‘coverage’.

2. Personalisation at scale will take more of a hold.

Better targeting functionality across all social platforms makes it easier and cheaper to create campaigns that focus on smaller groups of people – be it based on location, personality or preference. Delivering different creatives to these groups, testing, learning and iterating quickly will become a more realistic thing to do because of it.

3. Crisis management will become a core player at the marcomms table.

With the ease with which consumers now see brand activity on multiple digital touchpoints, immediately, there is no differentiation between pace to place from a consumer point of view. They do not see nor care about departments or different teams. And when something goes wrong, they don’t distinguish between offline and online. Brand is brand.

The days of having crisis, marketing and customer service handled by disparate departments is long gone, and businesses must catch up. It’s no longer best practice; it’s business critical.

4. B2B is ‘B2B’ no more, as we’re in a B2H environment.

People don’t consume media accordingly to their job title any more. They’re just as likely to catch up on the football scores on Facebook in the middle of the day, as they are to read business news via Pocket at home. So B2B becomes B2H; business to human. As such, ‘B2B’ brands must become smarter in defining their audiences, and picking which distribution partners to work with. LinkedIn is excelling in this space, with their Lead Generation toolkit proving to be efficient and delivering actual ROI. Their purchase of Lynda.com and the roll out of employee advocacy tool Elevate further strengthens their offer.

5. No new players, but possible disruption at the top.

Platform-wise, the big guns are securely in place and we’re unlikely to see a ‘new player’ emerge from the West, but we should keep our eyes firmly on the growth of WeChat, QQ and QZone to see if they make direct moves to enter Europe and the Americas.

Twitter will struggle. We’ve seen a plateau in growth and the business is struggling to make money. While for PR, it is still a wonderful source of relationship building, from a scale perspective, that’s not the case.

Facebook’s numbers (especially when combined with Instagram and WhatsApp) are overwhelming, and continue to grow. 2016 will show us a sneak preview of what they plan to do with the combined data behind these three spaces. I hope they’ll do this responsibly.

6. The future of content is smart video.

That is, the combination of video and technology. Not just putting a video on a piece of tech, like YouTube, but actually joining the two together.

For me, this can be the creation of an interactive video online that you can explore, like Google’s work with RSA Films director Rob Blishen on Inside Abbey Road. It’s an exceptional piece of work.

Or, the combination of video and augmented reality tech. We’ll see the first real output of Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift in early 2016, which in terms of connecting social with brands to create immersive experiences, is phenomenally exciting for entertainment, sports, music brands and more.

Vikki Chowney, Director of Content+Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies UK

Image credit:dolphfyn / Shutterstock.com