SXSW may be over, but 3 takeaways stuck with us. With a menagerie of panels, films and interactive installations, it was impossible to attend everything. We’re here to break it down for you — SUM style.

Virtual/Augmented Reality just became the Hottest Buzzword

This year, SXSWi put a HUGE emphasis on virtual reality by implementing the VR/AR Track. The 3-day programming showcased the ‘latest and greatest’ ways for individuals to consume content, interact with brands, and will change the way people think about socializing and buying. Although virtual reality has been mentioned during previous SXSWs, the emerging technology is highly adaptable to any industry, giving consumers the total immersion of sensory details without actually being there. VR/AR’s capabilities to fully engage users through storytelling and create highly impressionable branding, have lead Oculus and McDonald’s to take their companies to the next level of customer engagement.

Since VR is still a very new and an unoccupied market, it’s an optimal time for newcomers to become industry leaders and bring something dynamic to the table. Whether or not you think VR/AR is a technological breakthrough or bust, one thing is certain; I don’t want virtual or augmented attached to any food item I’m about to gobble up.

McDonald's VR at SXSW
Experience what its like to be inside of a Happy Meal. Photo Courtesy of The Verge.

Hallelujah for On-Demand Start-Ups

As a millennial, I can speak for most when I say we want instant gratification. That’s as quick as attaching the awkward moon emoji to the end of a text or being able to stream the Final Four seamlessly on your smart phone. Luckily for us, a few companies were able to activate during SXSW and gave you more time to enjoy that last set at the Belmont or Richard Linklater panel.

Revolve x Postmatespartnered together to bring fresh, poppy, festival clothing straight to your door or the party you were getting free drinks at. By downloading the Postmates app, consumers were able to choose what they wanted while Postmates dealt with delivering the items to your venue location within the hour. Wasn’t in the mood to shop till you drop? The app also features convenience goods from 7/11 and nearby local eats.

Postmates at SXSW

‘On-Demand’ also isn’t synonymous with instant delivery. It can be in the form of having accessibility to a product or service. Service (conveniently named) boasts handling those bad, lengthy customer service issues for you. The app is still in the phase of launching, but claimed to have someone wait in line for you at SXSW. No promise or presence was made, but we’ll be anticipating it for SXSW 2017. Overall, we’re thankful to have on-demand start-ups to simplify and reduce everyday tasks.

Co-Branding, Co-Working… Whatever You Want to Call It

Samsung Lounge, Fader Fort, GSD&M’s SXSW Party and Willie Nelson’s Ranch are staples to the SXSW scene, but we’re seeing an emergence of collaboration between brands and ideas that is often underestimated. All parties can benefit from working with others because it helps to bring fresh ideas, increases your pool of untapped prospects, drives innovation and the quality of work produced.  

Bossbabes has gained a cult-like following due to its altruistic mission to want every woman to succeed and foster their creative passions in a supportive environment. Babes Fest successfully unveiled during SXSW and just announced that they will be touring other Texas cities and New York City.

BossBabes meetup during SXSW

WeWork held viral shindigs at their downtown Austin location throughout SXSW. Besides the party essentials (music, drinks and food), attendees got a glimpse of their workspace. The concept is helping shape the way individuals work, play and do business in a physical community workspace. Want inspiration? Visit your office buddy next door or meet someone new at the refreshments bar.

Collaborations aren’t exclusive to just brands or a group of individuals from the same industry. Millennials are redefining marketing and sales strategies where a ‘collaboration’ exists between the consumer and brand. Companies can’t just rely on demographics to attract buyers anymore; millennials want brands that understand their personal preferences and have a more customer-centric approach. In return, consumers can relay information about the company and experience with the brand through the unseen “dark social.”

At the end of the day, these companies and ideas seek to enhance lives. For better or worse? That’s up to you to decide.

Till next year, SXSW.