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SXSW 2021: Key conversations & takeaways

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The annual SXSW conference celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. While the historic 280,000-person festival pivoted to being an online experience this year, the conference did not disappoint.

This year, SXSW worked hard to bring the traditionally in-person conference experience into attendees homes with unexpected collaborations and conversations, and built-in online networking opportunities.

230 sessions were streamed throughout the week, spanning many of the topics driving culture and conversation right now, and with big names – including Oprah, Stacey Abrams, Priya Parker, Charles Yu and Willie Nelson – delivering SXSW keynotes live from their homes.

The dialogue and debate at SXSW uncovered valuable ways forward for marketers seeking to connect with consumers in today’s climate.

We identified six core themes driving culture and conversation at SXSW 2021:
Into the unknown: Charting a course in an uncharted future
Entertainment: The future of hybrid models & stages
Citizen Self: Tapping into a sense of urgency
Come together: Rallying communities for cause
Lose yourself: Finding connection in disconnected times
Storytelling: Mining emerging media & elevating marginalized narratives

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