Interactive Film, Music…Let’s Talk SXSW
SXSW, the premier conference to celebrate the merging of interactive film and music studies is one of, if not the biggest, event dedicated to fostering creative and professional growth. Held in Austin, Texas, this conference has become one of the premier events for EXPs to execute every year. So, I decided to poll the EXP Elite group and ask EXPs who have and continue to work at SXSW for their top tips. I have compiled the best practices for success for any EXP to keep in mind below.
Book Any Travel Accommodations Beforehand
With the conference being held over a 10-day period, and housing as well as hotel accommodations booked many months in advance by attendees, as an EXP, it is important to coordinate travel accordingly. Waiting until the last minute is not encouraged unless you will be splitting lodging with fellow EXPs or staying at a friends’ or relative’s home. On the contrary, it is important to confirm any and ALL event details with the Experiential Marketing or staffing agency prior to booking and paying for any hotels or AirBnB. Oftentimes, especially during major events, accommodations have a non-refundable window, which might come into effect. Therefore, it is important to communicate any issues or concerns and confirm event days/details prior. As fellow EXP John LaCombe and Jerome Barksdale stated, booking lodging and flights weeks in advance are keys to ensuring you are able to lock in the best rates and leave the conference making a profit. At the end of the day, you have to ensure any accommodation costs do not exceed the amount by which you will be compensated. DO THE MATH PRIOR TO COMMITTING!
Learn All Product Information
Chances are you will be working as an EXP in one of the following categories: Brand Ambassador, Product Specialist, Emcee or Tour Manager. Many of the conference attendees are enthusiasts of music, confirmed keynote speakers, as well as film. So, understanding the purpose and benefits of attending the conference is important. As an EXP, it is equally important for you to learn and study any and all key brand talking points prior to the execution day. Whether you will be working directly with the client or agency, chances are there will be someone from both or either entity there, Implementing my three P’s (Professionalism, Personality, and Presentation), are important. Remember, being on time is late and being early is considered on time. So plan your route accordingly and ensure you have packed the necessary essentials the day prior. Special shout out to seasoned EXP Ayanna Grady for providing this important tip!
Just Get There!
Yes, it sounds crazy, but this is one event as an EXP where work opportunities will arise at a last minute’s notice. Because sponsors and brands may work to add last minute activations, there will be opportunities for additional opportunities to arise. So, if you have booked a hotel, flight, and have yet to confirm any events as an EXP, fear not! As fellow EXPs John LaCombe, Ericah Marx, DirtySouf Yankee, and Marketta Clark can attest to, if you could just get to Austin, TX, you would have won half the battle! Begin reaching out to any account managers or staffing coordinators whom you have an established relationship with to see if there will be any events where EXPs are needed. Also, network with other EXPs as they may be executing an event in which the agency is looking for additional EXPs. Be sure to check the various Facebook groups leading up to SXSW and, of course, the EXP Elite group as there will be opportunities posted leading up to the conference on March 8th-17th in Austin, TX.
Special thanks to all of the EXPs for providing their insight! If you haven’t already, be sure to join my EXP Elite group and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for additional Experiential Marketing Tips. Check out this weeks video here, or at the bottom of this blog, and don’t forget to download my free SXSW guide below! Remember, you are a “brand with a brand so represent yourself accordingly”!
For event details, be sure to visit South by Southwest at: https://www.sxsw.com/