Thought Leadership Strategy

Our Top Picks For SXSW 2018

By INK Team

The nine-day festival of everything – better known as SXSW – is fast-approaching, and even though we’ve barely recovered from last year’s festivities, we’re excited to see everything that this year’s conference will bring. The sheer enormity of SXSW can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time, but have no fear! We’re here to share our SXSW top picks for the interactive, film, and music portions of the festival to help you wade through the clutter and make the most of your badge.


With Kate Axelsson

Science of Art: Using Data to Create Viral Moments
At INK, we pride ourselves on combining data, copy, and design to deliver unique content to our clients and their audiences. This session will explore what it means to take a “data-driven” approach to creating content, and how to implement this approach to achieve repeatable virility in a saturated media market.

Do More. Do Things That Were Previously Impossible
Want to learn what it takes to lay the groundwork for growth and success? This session wants to get you thinking about how your company operates and how you can challenge yourself to rewrite the rules. Rather than playing corporate defense, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media wants you to understand the keys to innovation and what it takes to stand out in today’s increasingly competitive market.

Create the World You Want to Live In
We live in a world where one person’s story, shared at scale can inspire a movement. How can we turn these movements into meaningful change? This session, led by NPR’s Guy Raz and featuring discussions with Karlie Kloss and Adidas Head of Global Brands, Eric Liedtke, will explore how they’ve been able to create social change through nonprofit and corporate brand initiatives.

Social Media & Social Good: Creators to the Rescue
Cause marketing is everywhere these days, as brands, nonprofits and independent creators look to provoke change on issues their passionate about. In this session, digital celebrities Tyler Oakley and Hannah Hart will discuss the best ways to combine social good with social media.

Creating Fearless Designs Through Street Art
Artists Zuzu and Mouf have two things in common: they’re both designers and street artists. Learn how these artists maintain creative freedom while working with clients, and how the no-rules, risk-taking attitude of street art is changing how brands engage with consumers today.

5 Major Generational Shifts & Understanding Gen Z
We’ve seen countless articles about millennials, but what about Gen Z, the generation right behind them? This session will address the generational shifts between Gen Z, millennials and baby boomers, and how this affects hiring as well as marketing, branding and user acquisition.


With Nicole Russell

Isle of Dogs
We don’t know what it’s like at your office, but here at INK we’re crazy about dogs (It’s why we have a whole Slack channel dedicated to #puppies of all ages!). So it’s no surprise that we’re beyond excited for Wes Anderson’s new animated movie about well…dogs. (It’s about more than that, but c’mon, we know why we’re interested).

Science Fair
This 2018 Sundance Festival Favorite Award-winning documentary film follows nine high school students from around the world as they set out to win the international science fair. No baking soda volcanos here, folks.

Social Animals
We frequently work with influencers on behalf of our clients and have to admit that sometimes we get jealous of their seemingly luxe lifestyles. This film follows three influencers on their quest for social media fame, giving us a peek at what goes on behind those perfectly-curated Instagram feeds.

Rush Hour
Commuting. We all do it, and we all hate it. (Especially in Austin traffic!) This documentary follows the commute of three individuals in different cities around the world, giving us a glimpse of how others experience a ritual we usually experience alone.

Half the Picture
As gender inequality in Hollywood continues to come to light, female voices in entertainment are more important than ever. Half the Picture interviews several high-profile women directors on their career, work/life balance, and their experience working as women in a male-dominated field.

Eighth Grade
This Bo Burnham-directed film, about a young girl navigating her last week of eighth grade, tackles subjects like the internet, anxiety, feelings of isolation and the quest for acceptance. While you couldn’t pay me to go back to eighth grade for real, I’ll gladly pay to see this film.


With Cassie Morien

Curtis Rousch
Already familiar with Austin’s The Bright Light Social Hour? Guide your psychedelic heart into Curtis Rousch’s first solo endeavor. For his debut album, Rousch spent time in Marfa, Texas, perfecting the soft, celestial shoegaze heard on Cosmic Campfire Music. His ambient, forgiving music will soothe you this SXSW. Make sure you snag the vinyl from Waterloo.
Recommended Listen: “Real Love

Walker Lukens
Austin’s hometown hero Walker Lukens will once again be prowling the SXSW-scene, seducing the stage at Cheer Up Charlies. Last year, Lukens dropped his second full-length album, Tell It To The Judge. Fellow INKer Madison Scullin and I actually spent a wild night at Native Hostel, with Lukens and his Side Arms, in celebration of the release. (That’s a story for another day.) If you love Spoon and the Black Keys, chase Walker Lukens this March.
Recommended Listen: “Lifted

Alex Di Leo
I was introduced to Alex Di Leo a few years ago through SunFest, where he opened for Kaleo and X Ambassadors. This devilishly handsome singer-songwriter creates addictive alt-indie-pop. Just a few days ago, Di Leo shared two new singles, “Brooklyn Bridge” and “Promise.” Want more? A new EP is on the horizon.
Recommended Listen: “Brooklyn Bridge

Fans of Flor and Fickle Friends will love the sultry songs prepared by Morgxn. This Nashville native exquisitely balances sensual vocals with electronic accents. His single “Home” has more than six million streams on Spotify and should be added to your Saturday night playlist stat.
Recommended Listen: “Love You with the Lights On

The story goes that about five years ago Noah McBeth went on a class trip from Germany to Las Vegas, decided music was his future, and never returned to reality (thank goodness). His beautiful beach vibes explore romance, sex, heartbreak, and family. NoMBe’s noise quickly caught the attention of Bonobo and Alt-J, who both invited him on tour. Everything he touches turns to gold.
Recommended Listen: “Young Hearts

The Lagoons
My favorite instrument in all the world is saxophone, especially when paired with hazy, sunburnt synths. Brothers Joey and Ryan Selan are master multi-instrumentalists and effortlessly create beach rock, accented with jazz, soul, and electronica. Based here in Austin, this duo will perform their dream pop at Javelina this SXSW. Oh, and look out for a new EP this spring.
Recommended Listen: “California

Excited about something at SXSW that we didn’t share here? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us your recommendations for SXSW 2018 @heyinkco. Enjoy the festival!