Cincinnati creative companies are ready for Austin's
South by Southwest Interactive conference
March 11-15, aiming to connect with thousands of participants and fellow professionals. Considered highly influential, the conference is loaded with events on marketing, Web and all things digital. It saw more than 14,000 participants, and the SXSW Music and Film festivals recorded similar numbers.
Cincinnati companies know this year's Interactive will draw big audiences - perhaps bigger than last year's fest.
"We're going to be doing a lot of grassroots marketing strategies - installations, street teams, spreading the word virally," says Josh Heuser, founder of Ionic Collective
, which partners with nightlife venues in the Midwest. (Seen the Hoist energy drink? They handle that.) "I went down in January and made a lot of contacts with local resources."
"It's a really important time for Cincinnati to make an impact down there this year," Heuser adds.
Of the companies, Ionic Collective hosts a March 14 showcase featuring local indie-pop band Bad Veins and national bands. The showcase also features Cincinnati company Wearcast
, making its debut at SXSW. As co-founder Jaydev Karande explains: "We let people take any thought, statement, expression and turn it into a cool T-shirt … without needing any design skills. It's as easy as updating your Facebook status or sending out a Tweet."
Wearcast started in June 2010. The company was enticed by SXSW's exposure opportunities, Karande says. "The real feedback we're going to get is going to down there. Good or bad - it doesn't matter. You get it there."
Connecting with local companies bound for SXSW, Karande and Heuser organized a SXSW pre-party at Mainstay Rock Bar downtown Feb. 25 that included reps from Wearcast, Ionic and companies such as Empower MediaMarketing
and Crush Republic
Writer: Rich Shivener
Sources: Kevin Dugan, Empower MediaMarketing, director of marketing; Josh Heuser, founder of Ionic Collective; Jaydev Karande, co-founder of Wearcast