South by Southwest was one of the greatest experiences that I have had as a professional, by far. I literally found myself at the mecca for technology, music, and film. This is the place where artists and start-ups are born. I was truly amazed by the people as well as the speakers who converge on Austin from all around the world for this amazing event.

Throughout the chaos, I was beginning to get a little frustrated while searching for the perfect nugget of information to bring back to the team. It could have been anything: a new process, a new platform or technology – anything to make this trip a success for our team. In the end, it was the reassurance I got in the technology and processes we are using, which are really cutting edge. One of the sessions that really stuck with and resonated with what we do was “What is a brand now anyway?”

When you think about it, why do people follow brands, what do they “get out of it?” What attracts them to these Instagram pages, celebrities, or Facebook accounts? Something with each of these brands or people is hitting home with those followers. These people see a little bit of themselves in that person or brand, or they want to project a little piece onto how they perceive who they are and how they live their lives.

These days, a brand is different than in days past. Now, brands need to realize that consumers now have the ability to talk with brands and interact with them in the digital space or almost expect to be able to do so. Brands should be using social media to relate to customers, to deliver relevant information, and to carry on the ever-evolving conversation you are having.

Another interesting bit of information we, as marketers, need to realize is that you can’t tell all stories in every single channel. You need to choose which channels are most relevant and how clients are receiving your intended message. Are you building your brand/following or are you promoting something? Now days, your clients have the ability to buy anything they want at anytime that they want. The question becomes, do you have the following and support to keep yourself top-of-mind with those individuals that are going to seek you out when the time comes for them to utilize your product or service?

The one really great reminder that I took away from SXSW was that each of our clients has a different goal. We need to be cognizant of the message they are sending and which channels will most effectively keep the line of communication open and how we are relating to our customers.