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SXSW 2017

From Jeff Rawson

Midwest Knows Best

We had the great fortune to experience the week of SXSW Interactive, explore some new music (Secret Sisters fanboy) and eat all the meat Texas has to offer. There is a lot of meat.

We are still unpacking the goods from every session, panel discussion and keynote address, but one theme seemed to stand above every VR demo and brand experience: 


Authenticity.

This is simple. Obvious even. But in an interconnected world, even the largest institutions are quickly discovering the necessity of emotion, collaboration and self-identification; a way to stay relevant in an age of expected transparency. Powerful storytelling and authentic voice are critical to create a real connection, something the most advanced AI can’t duplicate—the human touch. We all know content is king, but without feeling and the right tone, it is just noise in a social media-laden conversation.

Whether it was Michael Nieling’s charge to “live reasonably and realistically," Piera Gelardi's idea of "dreaming and doing" or Gary Vaynerchuk’s message of ambition and patience, the overwhelming takeaway of each talk seemed to be a road sign pointing directly back to our Missouri office. 

This is what we do in the Midwest.

We tell the story with honesty, passion and God-given common sense. No fluff. No one has time for that. People are no longer buying your stuff, they’re buying your ‘why’. And that’s why we approach things with an old-school mentality of hard work, trust and a general guiding principle rooted in the common good. Creativity is at the core of what we do, but it cannot exist without our ‘why’.

So be good. Tell the truth. Repeat. It’s that simple.
From the road: