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Esri In The House — Making Mapping Cool at SXSW

Esri In The House — Making Mapping Cool at SXSW

Known for developing high-level global mapping software for urban planners and other professionals, the Esri technical product portfolio was built for scientists, not consumers.

Esri set its sights on expanding into new markets by developing platforms for geolocation web and mobile apps. Attracting developers to use their technology was a key component of their growth.

Building Buzz
Esri asked FreemanXP to help build awareness, affinity, and buzz with the developer community at SXSW. Esri wanted developers to touch and feel their solutions, download apps, and participate in the process in order to demonstrate how Esri has created opportunities for developers.

The Right Vibe
Starting with a strategy was key. FreemanXP facilitated brainstorming sessions to help define program objectives, identify the right target audiences, and ultimately create ways to achieve the greatest impact. While the SXSW conference drew the right developer community, it also attracted tens of thousands of others who weren’t relevant to the Esri growth strategy.

FreemanXP advised Esri to cut through the clutter and target core developers by creating its own unique space at SXSW. Together, we created the “Esri House"; a cool and comfortable setting with a laid-back atmosphere to encourage play and learning under the Esri banner. Our creative and logistical masterminds scoured Austin, TX for an eclectic property with the right vibe, discovering Palazzo Lavaca, a grand refurbished firehouse with a vintage feel.

To attract crowds to the Esri House, our team suggested Esri host several events, including: hacker hangout happy hours; a developer’s hackathon; and a hangover brunch. And how better to help folks to get there then to use the Esri products? Our team helped arrange for a branded Esri-wrapped trolley with an easy-to-use app to track the trolley’s whereabouts and get developers to the house on time.

Play They Did
The Esri house was a popular respite for developers at SXSW. All events were either sold out or filled to capacity, with a steady flow of hackers and developers (more than double what they expected!) heading to the house to relax and play with Esri’s technology.

And play they did. The Open Data Hackathon, a co-effort with the City of Austin, challenged developers to create a civic app using Esri APIs and data. In under five hours, developers created an app that identifies Austin’s most dangerous dog (the chihuahau) and actually barks when the app user was within striking distance of the ferocious furball.

The events also prompted hundreds of tweets from participants and admirers alike, while popular bloggers and tech-focused media outlets, like TechCrunch, covered their Esri experience in their top SXSW write-ups.


Solutions
  • Creative Development
  • Experience Design
  • Insight Development
  • Logistics
  • Production Management
  • Venue Selection & Site Management