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  • Under: Events | Marketing & Communications Strategy

Every year a crowd of over 30,000 that includes the brightest minds in the creative and tech industry descends on Austin. These conditions can be just the event to activate your brand and magnify your success, but it takes more than just showing up with some swag and flyers. You need to have a brand activation strategy that will build strong connections and turn attendees into your newest brand evangelists. Here are a few tips to help make that transformation happen:

Going Guerrilla

The CHIEF Sticker

It doesn’t take a huge budget to get your name out there.  A stack of stickers or posters can go a long way in making a big impact. The CHIEF team at SXSW always hits the streets and events armed with stickers ready to be posted anywhere and everywhere. Remember to always keep your signals strong and clear—overcomplicated designs and messages will blend into the noisy convention environment and are easily ignored.

CHIEF’s sticker is simply our logo with a clearly legible URL, and that is all that it takes. When meeting other attendees, we often heard “I see CHIEF everywhere!” and they feel like they know us before the conversation even begins.

Swag with Staying Power


Be sure that your branded merchandise showcases your brand with style and sophistication. A shiny new water bottle you are sure everybody will love loses its charm when plastered with a huge phone number or URL. You will have stronger connection when your swag becomes part of their everyday routine. Sizing your logo proportionately and keeping your contact information small but clearly legible will be just as effective and keep your swag from ending up in the trashcan. The CHIEF hat with the simple design of our logo and BE BRAVE were spotted all around town throughout the festival, and we’re sure they will be worn back home.

A Connected Experience

The CHIEF SXSW 2017 party featuring DJ Chorizo Funk, Riders Against the Storm and Rudy Rexx

If throwing an event, offer an experience that immerses attendees in your brand and builds a stronger connection with your audience. For SXSW this year, we paid respect to our DC roots with a GO-GO themed event. The incredible DJ Chorizo Funk, hip hop duo Riders Against the Storm and percussionist Rudy Rexx bringing the music and energy, along with dinner and drinks brought in the crowds, but it takes a well-branded event to turn a crowd into your newest fans. Custom banners, drink tokens and branded assets displayed through projectors and flat screens ensured that our brand was visible throughout the venue and outside on 6th Street. Handing out our famous CHIEF hats and t-shirts to all provides a brand connection that will last well beyond the party.

SXSW is a festival like no other, but your brand can make the same impression whether at a local event or national trade show with the right brand activation strategy. We’d love to help