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Top Takeaways From South By Southwest

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It’s all about authenticity.

By Lauren Jones

Last year, more than 400,000 people flocked to South By Southwest, as the event always attracts throngs of movie, music and interactive fans from throughout the world. This year was no exception. From interactive panels with some of the biggest names in tech, business and more, to feature films and, of course, the music festival, this nine-day event continues to act as an epicenter for connection and ideas.

For locals, SXSW can be exciting too, as the energy of the city is palpable, despite that the time is one of the worst in terms of traffic. Downtown is a parking lot, with hundreds of people walking in tandem through crosswalks, badges swinging from their necks. This year, the Austin Woman team took on SXSW. Here are some of our top takeaways.

Authenticity above all.

Authenticity was a word we heard in every single interactive session we attended. In the growing digital age, companies are exploring more ways to create genuine content, content that resonates, is timely and makes sense with the current brand strategy and where a particular company is going in the future.

“Timeliness, authenticity, reliability,” Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee, says are what defines good content.

Regarding deciding what to share with your audience, Melissa Hartwig, founder of Whole30, says, “Is what your sharing adding value?”

We’re all seeking real, human connection.

There are positives and negatives of the world we live in today. We are more connected than ever, yet seemingly disconnected at the same time. Social media isn’t real life and we are attached to our smartphones. As people who tell others’ stories for a living, we believe in the power of storytelling and love seeing how the words we share inspire conversations.

Regarding storytelling, Eric Liedtke, chief marketing officer of Adidas, says, “Stories are the new capital. People want to know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Knowing yourself and what you stand for is key for business success.

What is your brand promise? What do you stand for and what are your core values? New women-led businesses are being created every day, and with those businesses come a new way of looking at the world.

Regarding pushing boundaries and the importance of curiosity and creativity, Maryellis Bunn, founder of the Museum of Ice Cream, says, “We have become a society that accepts what is instead of questioning what it should be.”

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