SXSW is officially over. While we had a great time at our event, we're happy Austin is getting back to normal.

The festival covered everything from VR to how tech helps find missing children to how merch sales keep Chance the Rapper off major record labels.

Here are three key themes we saw at SXSW 2017:

1. Content is great, but it's nothing without authenticity.

No matter if you're creating podcasts, a blog, a rebrand, or you're a musician, good engagement with your audience starts with authenticity.

"Tell stories that are authentic and real to drive brands. Let's get back to human-to-human," explained Don Osmond, Managing Partner of OzComm Marketing.

2. Power lies in mobile storytelling

In 2017, what would we do without our phones to call a ride home or send money instantly with Venmo?

Since almost every aspect of our lives is digital. Companies need to start thinking about mobile and digital before anything else.

Even though we may feel overwhelmed by all the different avenues out there-- Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc...

Pick what’s right for your brand. Tell the story. Be where your audience is.

“Mobile storytelling across multiple platforms allows a story to continue to grow & develop new narratives on its own.” -- Bond Digital.

3. Tech + Diversity: still an issue.

The tech industry is under pressure to diversify their workforce. Austin Woman's Magazine reported:

"Fifty is the total number of female focused and led panels, workshops, and talks slated for South By Southwest Interactive 2017."

With over 13,000 festival sessions, is only 50 female-focused sessions really enough?

Big tech companies, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Google, made moves toward hiring more women and minorities in 2016.

Candice Morgan, Head of Diversity at Pinterest stated:

"Diversity and inclusion don't slow things down - they make things more efficient."

Diverse teams produce 15% higher ROI.

In 2018, we'd like to see SXSW double the number of women and minority-led festival sessions and show progress toward inclusion is indeed happening.


What were some of your key takeaways from SXSW this year?