In March, CBC headed to Austin, TX where we were immersed in 5 days of marketing panels, discussions, experiential brand activations, events, and more! We like to think of it as Disney World for digital marketing professionals. Our V.P. of Brand Integration, Robin Mack, shared her experience and some key learnings from this year’s 2018 SXSW Interactive conference.

Robin tests out the hot seat at Bumble’s activation all about female empowerment.


As a founder of CBC’s SIDEBAR Studios, I’ve been in the trenches researching all aspects of content marketing. Where it’s going and how we can help our clients succeed in this area. As a first-time goer at SXSW, it was incredibly validating to hear industry perspectives on the importance of content, visual storytelling and the rising role of micro-influencers in today’s marketing landscape. All things we are preaching at CBC.

I’ve outlined my key takeaways from lectures featuring incredible speakers from brands such as Revolve, Kate Spade, Instagram, William Sonoma, CNN and so many more.


  1. Influencers have solidified their place as a highly impactful way to introduce and convert customers. A shift to the micro-influencer is where brands are seeing the highest engagement. These are influencers with >50K in followers. They are experts and advisors in their field and have greater than 20Xs the number of conversions than “celeb” influencers.

Revolve and Beauty Barrage talked about the power of micro-influencers.


  1. Visual storytelling is driving ROI and science supports it.91% of audiences prefer visual content to long-form text. Visuals transmit to the brain 60,000 times faster than text and increases comprehension by 89%. So, if we told you, audiences only read 20% of the content delivered to them, you better have strong visuals (photo & video) for them to retain a good understanding and positive first impression of your brand. Therefore, a narrative through visual storytelling (i.e. video) is the most impactful way to connect with consumers. Industry best practice suggests pushing out 12-14 types of visual content pieces per campaign.

Photo 1: When Twitter House encourages bathroom selfies, you comply. Photo 2: The Bose activation was taking visual storytelling to the next level with VR sunglasses that trigger sound based on what you’re seeing.


  1. Take a channel-specific approach to reach your audience. Instagram vs. YouTube vs. Facebook speak to customers in different ways and cater to different engagements. Create and optimize content for each channel to effectively engage consumers and hit successful metrics. For example, Instagram Stories is a place to be more real and vulnerable whereas YouTube is a place for higher production and entertainment.

Photo: Kate Spade’s team showed how they customize their content strategy for each channel. Like these puppy social sharables only lived on Facebook to promote click-throughs to product.


  1. Audiences want real.Engagement spikes when brands act authentic and show vulnerability. Content does not need to be overly produced or perfectly curated. Transparency goes a long way with consumers and increases brand affinity. When you use influencers, conversion happens when they are allowed to creatively collaborate with brands and drop the branded script. Allowing this type of creativity produces novelty which engages the brain and stirs emotion in the mind of the consumer; emotion ignites the memory solidifying your brand impression.


These insights substantiate that in our ever-evolving jobs as marketers, content is critical. I’d even go as far as calling content king in a mixed bag of marketing.

Overall, the conference reminded us that it’s so important to take time away from our incredibly busy marketing jobs for personal and professional growth. In every lecture, I found myself learning new things and it was truly invigorating and inspiring.

Check out some more photos from our SXSW adventure…


Robin Mack

VP of Brand Integration

CBCUncorked is back with another unfiltered, unedited question of the month:

For the month of March, we asked CBCers to scroll through their social feeds and tell us who they chose as their “social media spirit animal” and why. Social media spirit animal can be defined as a social account (person, place, animal etc.) that you feel sums you up in some way. Read through our answers below to find out about our online alter egos.


“Rachel from @AdultYoga b/c she is weird, randomly dark, and always hysterical.”

– Kelsey Damrad, Digital Marketing Specialist



“My dog @frankedoodle. Because the most stressful thing in his life is catching anything that moves (which he never does) and lives life without a care in the world.

– Jen Newberg, Director of Business Development



“Real spirit animal: Sea Otter. Social media spirit animal: @olliebopz, Fur boss.”

– Blair Curzi, PR Specialist



“@ronniefieg, without a doubt. Not only is he a streetwear design/collaboration legend (Kith), but his love for cereal led him to also develop an unreal, boutique-style cereal bar (Kith Treats). Streetwear and cereal are two of my favorite things, so the fact that he is killing the game with both makes him my idol.”

– Jared Ravreby, PR Associate



“I can’t pick just one! I love @erinoutdoors because I love outdoor adventure travel. But @overheardnewyork reminds me of everything I miss about home. And @newyorkercartoons just makes me laugh.”

– Franny, Senior Brand Specialist



“Tie between #gracesbedhead (an ode to Grace Joy, @PureJoyHome’s daughter) and Nora of @jessannkirby”

– Kerryn Connolly, Senior Manager, Brand Integration



“This may be the hardest question I’ve ever been asked. But it would probably have to be a three-way tie between @BusyPhillips due to her unapologetic, unedited and #nofilter personality on Instagram, @kaitlynbristowe because she gets my love for puns, wine, and inappropriate jokes (+ her and Shawn Booth are #couplegoals) and @WallyBenjagram because of his flawless ability to strike a pose, any time, any place.”

– Gina Uttaro, Digital Marketing and Content Strategist



“@girlwithnojob – Yes, I have a job (thank you CBC), but she is Jewish, likes to eat a lot and sings in the bathtub…I’d say that we are pretty similar.”

– Andi Wollin, Brand Associate



“Can it be a brand? Mine would be @Fahertybrand. Farhety Brand to me stands for free-spirited, authentic, summer, sun, laid back, fun and celebrating life’s simple things. Also comfort and kindness.”

– Robin Mack, VP of Brand Integration



“@studioplants is the houseplants and tips account of Jeannie Phan – illustrator and cat lady. She’s the reason for my recent Philodendron purchase (and why it isn’t in the trash yet), along with the numerous other plants sprouting up around my home. I love her suggestions for plant care and accessories, the beautiful photography and an occasional snoozing Odin.”

– Alex Hanson, Senior Graphic Designer



“My social media spirit animal is @alisoneroman – the author of the Dining In cookbook (featuring the chocolate chip cookies seen all over Instagram). She loves cooking and entertaining her friends, traveling, champagne, she’s a *little* disorganized AND I feel like we would be best friends. Best part is she’s constantly instagramming delicious food (those cookies!) and that’s all I really need.”

–  Annie Draper, PR Specialist



What’s your [social media] spirit animal? Tweet us @cerconebrown.

Aspen is an iconic American ski town for a reason.  With sun shining overhead and powder underfoot, champagne flowing like water and cowboy hats always on trend, there really is no other ski destination that can match it.

This March, CBC hosted a group of eight editors at our Aspen Experience, immersing them in the non-stop action of America’s chicest mountain town. Check out our travel guide below to see where we stayed, what we did, and how we ate and drank our way through Aspen, Colorado.

Where to Stay

Our group of travel, food and fitness editors were hosted for the weekend by The Gant, a luxurious condo resort located steps away from the center of downtown. Everyone took advantage of the on-site fitness center and breakfast café, while fully embracing the cozy mountain lifestyle in beautifully furnished condos complete with wood-burning fireplaces.

Pro Tip: Recover from a day of crushing black diamonds with a soak in The Gant’s outdoor hot tub.



While The Gant served as our home base, editors were also able to check out The Limelight Hotel for an evening of fireside appetizers and drinks, as well as the iconic Hotel Jerome’s breathtaking Living Room bar.



What to Do

Day one on the slopes kicked off with an early morning stop to the Obermeyer headquarters.  After previewing the upcoming season’s line of outerwear and a lively tour with living legend Klaus Obermeyer, everyone was inspired to push themselves to the limit on the mountain – Klaus’ energy and passion for snow was contagious!



Next, the group headed to Snowmass to be fitted for rental skis and snowboards, outfitted in the latest gear from Obermeyer, Hestra, Zeal, Krimson Klover and Sportube.



Over the course of the next three days, our group took in everything that Aspen’s peaks had to offer, from experiencing lessons with expert ski instructors, taking park laps on Snowmass, and slashing powder turns on Highlands. Our final day was picture-perfect with access to first tracks on Aspen Mountain’s meticulous groomers.

Pro Tip: Find Picnic Point on the trail map at Highlands for the ideal setting for a private champagne apres. The views can’t be beat!  And let us know if you need a lesson on how to saber a bottle of bubbly with a ski.   



Where to Eat


The only thing that can rival Aspen’s epic mountains is its dining options. Any calories that were burned on the mountain were quickly replaced at the area’s best restaurants:

  • La Creperie du Village – Nestled in the center of Aspen, La Creperie du Village had us thinking that we were transported to the French Alps. Everyone enjoyed the bubbling cheese fondue and hearty entrees, perfectly paired with wine and delicate crepes.  Food Network even went Live on Facebook while we were there to show off how to make the perfect crepe, straight from the crepe experts of course.



  • Mi Chola – It was time for a fiesta when the group hit Aspen’s favorite Mexican restaurant for margaritas and tacos! The previous night’s fondue experience kicked off a weekend-long cheese obsession that was supported by Mi Chola’s creamy queso dip.
  • Velvet Buck – Located in the upscale St. Regis hotel, Velvet Buck is a new addition to the Aspen dining scene. Paying homage to the 19th century Rocky Mountain lifestyle, the restaurant focuses on local ingredients and primal cooking techniques.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the cheese-curling fun of the “Tete de Moine” and the mouth-watering s’mores skillet from the Velvet Buck.


Where to Drink

It’s not a full ski day until you’ve had apres, and our weekend featured the finest brews and spirits Aspen could offer.

  • Woody Creek Distillers – Our group of media were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of Woody Creek, a craft distillery based just outside of town in Basalt, CO. With a Moscow mule in hand, editors were taken through the intricate start-to-finish process of vodka, whiskey and gin production.  Of course, straight-from-the-barrel tastings were necessary to fully understand the importance of aging!



  • Hops CultureIgloo Coolers was on-site to treat the group to a St. Patrick’s Day apres at Hops Culture, a gastropub in the heart of Aspen. After learning about the technical construction and full range of Igloo’s Legacy collection of growlers and tumblers, editors enjoyed hands-on product testing while sampling local beers.



This year’s Aspen Experience was one for the books and certainly a trip we will never forget. Drop us a line to let us know your favorite hot spots in Aspen, CO and maybe we will see you on the slopes in 2019.



Looking to see more from our Aspen Experience? Check out our Instagram or #CBCAspenExperience.

In 2011, Snapchat, created by three students at Stanford University, became a huge digital phenomenon. The O.G. live social media platform. Since its release, it has garnered more than 150 million daily users and was growing faster than most iPhone apps… or so we thought.

In the past few months, Snapchat has been on the decline losing loyalty from both brands and users. We can attribute this as a reaction to a recent update that has changed the overall function and design of the application. Rather than separating branded Snapchat stories from personal, the update has meshed all content into one, unchronological queue.

With the Instagram Stories competitor on the rise, and an aggressive one at that, Snapchat seems to be having a hard time keeping up. Instagram users already have a following here and adding Insta Stories to their strategy only helps strengthen the connection to their audience. The authenticity offered by Instagram Stories is enticing to individuals who want to increase their following and enhance their online persona, therefore making Snapchat seem like an unnecessary channel to maintain.


The audience has spoken, and they are saying: WTF

This Snapchat update has received some major criticism from users, and has led many to delete the app from their devices altogether.

A petition on was created with the goal of convincing Snapchat to go back to how it was prior to the 2018 update. To date, the petition has over 1 million signatures. Nic Rumsey, the Australian man who initiated the petition, says that “there is a general level of annoyance among users and many have decided to use a VPN app, or are using other risky apps or steps, to go back to the old Snapchat.”


One man’s trash is another man’s Snapchat success

While the public may be in an uproar over the update, some brands have found success on the app. NASCAR reported that its story viewership has increased by 80% since the change.



Nike has been using the Snapchat update to its advantage by tapping into it during live events. Nike’s Jordan brand, Darkstore, and Shopify teamed up to pre-release the Air Jordan III “Tinker” on Snapchat with same-day delivery. After the big game, those that attended the Jumpman All-Stars after-party had the chance to scan exclusive snap codes, leading them to Snapchat where they could purchase the sneakers (which sold out in 23 minutes).



Under Armour also creatively used the tool to increase viewership, by creating 5-second ads. The message loops through twice, giving users the opportunity to see it more than once within the ten second ad limit set by Snapchat.

Under Armour also uses the QR type codes on Snapchat to show special lenses. During the NBA Slam Dunk contest, users scanned codes that allowed them to take pictures with a 3D version of Dallas Mavericks’ Point Guard, Dennis Smith Jr, Smith (wearing Under Armour shoes). According to Under Armour, users spent an average of 79 seconds playing with the lens.



NASCAR, Nike, and Under Armour are strong examples of how brands are taking advantage of this “downtime” for Snapchat and utilizing it successfully to engage consumers in a creative way.

Is it possible that Snapchat could go back to its golden days? Is there still a future for Snapchat? The verdict on this is out, however one thing is clear: brands are still using it to engage the audience that is still there for brand awareness and now, ROI opportunities.