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SXSW is an intensive 10 day festival with a multitude of industries coming together to inspire each other and learn. Enterprises including, tech, film, music, education, and culture host many insightful lectures and events on current topics and the latest trends.

Crowd has attended for the past few years as representatives of the Department of International Trade (DIT) who help showcase UK businesses on a global scale. The DIT lead a series of events and roundtable discussions at the UK House venue, which Crowd partook in. This yearly festival was previously held virtually due to the pandemic so it was great to experience the intimate feel and real-life buzz of having the event in person again in Austin, Texas. There was so much to learn and experience so we have collated a few of our favourite key takeaways.

 

NFT’s will continue to grow

SXSW had a lot of information about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) and how they are on the rise with applications for many different industries. We now see that platforms like Instagram are starting to introduce NFT’s and many artists are now turning to them as a way to gain higher profit from their work – as well as a deeper connection and engagement with their fanbase. There is still some work to do to change the perception that many people have about NFT’s (they’ve been called ‘overpriced jpegs’), but we believe that NFT’s will soon become more mainstream and a common part of everyday life.

 

Hologram selfies and the unavoidable Metaverse

SXSW is at the cutting edge of technology and augmented reality but this year there was even more buzz about the future of the virtual world. We walked into many rooms with people wearing virtual reality headsets experiencing a range of different realities and games. There was also a big emphasis on the Metaverse coming our way, whether society felt ready or not. We need to try and use it for good, for people to connect and experience things they may not be able to within the real world.

We saw some of the best applications of this technology for healthcare, working more closely with professional teams and education. This year’s winner of the SXSW Extended Reality and Immersive Technology competition was Matsuko who promises to allow users to “experience true holographic presence using just a smartphone.” This is an exciting game-changer for the technology world. Who knows what it may mean if the average person can create holograms of themselves and share in the digital world. We also expect to see a shift in how people value, and increasingly invest in, their digital avatars over their physical selves.

The exclusive industry of space tourism

Demand for space tourism is on the rise and within the next few years, we should see the first commercial space travel beginning. However, this industry is extremely exclusive at the moment. SXSW hosted a range of startups and new technologies that are starting to make this sci-fi dream happen – along with a hefty price tag. For $50K you can take a 7-8 hour long journey up into the stratosphere and see Earth from above. More affordable approaches or the next best thing are impressive simulations with excellent videography but minus the zero gravity and carbon emissions!

Brand authenticity and truth-telling

This year’s event had a lot of focus and discussion around the importance of brands communicating and operating with clear authenticity and a meaningful purpose, which especially appeals to the Gen Z audience. This audience will seek out businesses that align with their own values, and hold the buying power.

Therefore, how a brand delivers itself to market and its values around sustainability, equality and diversity are key in achieving that audience cut through. Brands that are not considering their environmental and societal impact, or not staying true to their messaging, will be called out very quickly.

Re-shuffling of the 9 to 5 working lifestyle

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a global mindset shift about the way we work and support employees. Many white collared roles experienced new flexibility that remote working offers and businesses have had to listen to their employee’s experiences from this.

It is now not about just tracking employees by hours spent but tracking the work achieved. Supporting employee development is absolutely critical. There has been much debate as to whether it is better to let the employees customise their working style to their individual needs and how they know they work best, while still ensuring people work effectively and cohesively as teams.

 

Crowd are always at the forefront of industry thinking and can use these insights to help promote your product or brand internationally. Get in touch today to discuss your project.

CROWD INSPIRE YOUTH WITH MARKETING CAREERS GUIDANCE

On 17th March, Crowd attended The Careers and Apprenticeship Show at the BIC in Bournemouth, hosted by Silicon South with fellow agencies April6, Adido and BBD Boom.

This event showcased businesses and opportunities for careers and apprenticeships for young adults in the South West area. Our Web Developer Intern, Alex Veats, represented Crowd and educated GCSE and Sixth Form students about exciting careers in marketing and the work of Silicon South and marketing agencies in the South.

Alex said “A lot of students were very interested in the front end development work and the social media marketing that Crowd does. Most of the young adults didn’t know what an agency was before talking to us but by the end, a lot of them said they were very interested in pursuing a career.”

Crowd have always maintained a strong relationship with academic centres offering both careers guidance and lecturing on courses at local universities. We are proud that some of our brightest stars were recruited directly from the university and we’ve seen them flourish as part of our global team.

We look forward to seeing what talent may join the Crowd team after these events and hope to inspire many more young adults in the future.

 

REACHING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FOR RALSA

RALSA (Regional Accredited Language Schools Association) connects international students with quality English language tuition in safe, secure and professionally-accredited institutes, all located within Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in the UK.

Crowd has been working with RALSA to show that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are the best places in the UK for foreign students to learn English. These areas are not only beautiful but are very student-friendly and the language schools associated with RALSA are excellent.

We have created a new website with pages that profile the member schools, making it easier for visitors to compare the different schools.

Over the next few weeks, we will be creating a global marketing campaign with geo-targeted ads, specifically on Instagram and Facebook. We aim to drive traffic to the website and connect with talented students worldwide. Crowd’s design team will be creating graphics for the social media posts to excite students and showcase the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch areas.

We have also created a customised reporting dashboard to help RALSA understand where their traffic is coming from allowing them to optimise future marketing activity and boost enquiries for their member schools. We also track which schools are proving popular which will help RALSA understand what international students are looking for in a language school.

If you’d like to reach a global audience with your marketing, get in touch with one of our marketing experts today.

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR GOOGLE ANALYTICS!

Last week Google finally gave notice that support for the current Universal Analytics (UA) version of Google Analytics will be retired on 1st July 2023.

This will be replaced by the new GA4 giving all users a year to get used to the new system which is completely different from the current version. For anyone who has played with GA4, outwardly it appears to offer a similar, but less comprehensive set of data than we’re used to.

However, it uses a completely new way of recording and processing data which means that there is no migration between the current Universal Analytics and the new platform. This means that historical data collected in UA will not be transferable to GA4. There will be no way to compare data between GA4 and UA within the GA4 environment.

The key drivers for the new GA4 platform are to try and provide a more accurate picture of web data using AI to ‘fill in the blanks’ which are an issue of widespread ad blocker use and the phasing out of third party cookies which impact the amount of data collected by UA.

Crowd are working on an upgrade path for our clients to ensure continuity of data collection over the transition period and suggests running both properties simultaneously for a time to compare differences in data. This may help us to provide that link between old and new and produce dashboards that provide an accurate continuity over time.

We’ll be in touch with our clients soon about upgrade strategies, but if you’d like to discuss how this may affect your data, please do get in touch.

 

 EXPORT MONTH REPORT DELIVERS INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

As part of this year’s Export Month, UKAEG has released their Fourth Annual Export Report. It shares many interesting insights and important information including the very first data on how exports responded to the global Covid-19 lockdowns and Crowd has been featured.

The world was heavily affected by the pandemic with many industries in the UK struggling. However, the Export report revealed that in 2020, international trade in the UK advertising and market research services was worth £11.7bn, which has sustained at the same level since before the pandemic began in 2019.

With the difficulties of a global lockdown and the prohibition of face to face visits, UK exporters in the advertising industry were expected to be challenged but the balance of payments remained steady and still received excellent results, bringing the UK a stable £5 billion trade plus surplus.

Data has been collected from an analysis by the advertising industry think tank of data (Credos) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The data revealed the success of the Advertising and market research services has resulted in being in third place beside comparable industries in 2020, following after insurance and pension services and computer services.

The US remains the largest recipient of UK exports, receiving £1.2bn worth of advertising and market research services, followed by Spain and then Germany. “The advertising industry deserves recognition for its effort and hard work to maintain £11.7bn export revenue in 2020,” said Mike Freer MP, Minister for Exports, calling it a “tremendous performance during such a challenging period”.

Courtesy of the Advertising Association, you can download the full UK Advertising Export Report here (we’re on page 33)

Looking to take your business overseas in a challenging climate? Speak to us today.