21 Jun Cannes Lions 2016 Panel Discussion: Urbangea—The Supercontinent of Linked Megacities

On the 21st June, on a hot and sunny day at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Ogilvy, in partnership with PwC, hosted an interesting 45-minute panel discussion about ubangeas, which is a term coined in a soon-to-be-published report from Ogilvy and refers to the grand conglomeration of cities into new areas in the more ‘exotic’ parts of the world and how that is going to affect digital media and its impact on consumers and the way brands need to talk to them, work with them and be creative, particularly talking about the velocity of growth in middle classes, perhaps in countries which we have not featured so much about as business owners or marketers.

The panel talk was moderated by Niall McKinney, CEO and Founder of The Knowledge Engineers (as well as being the Editor-in-Chief of 12ahead.com). The panelists were Cindy Gallop, a well-known consultant and Founder of IfWeRanTheWorld, John Gerzema, an author and CEO at BAV Consulting and Justin Sturrock, leads people and organization practice at PwC.

It goes without saying that in today’s ever fast paced digitally connected world, cities are becoming nation-like in size and importance and that they are coalescing into large urbangeas. This will effectively lead to the attraction of investment and brands because of their massive populations. Consequently, the future of business is doing good and making money simultaneously.

The social velocity of these middle classes means that as subsistence becomes less of an issue, more space is freed up for activism, purpose, and social consciousness. In actual fact it will mean that potentially companies will need to reorder how they attract, retain, and reward employees as traditional structures erode, and consumers will be looking to brands that exist for a greater reason than profit. Environment is a key concern as many of these emerging middle class consumers live in areas that will be hit first and hardest by a changing climate.

Interesting views were presented from the panelists about their experiences and thoughts in relation to how global the world is becoming and particularly how much emphasis Western countries should put in making sure that such ‘emerging economies’ should not really be classed as emerging economies anymore. For example, Cindy made a point that at major Western festivals, such as Cannes Lions, there should be more emphasis made to places such as China or India, or Mexico, where there is huge growth and potential.

Some key quotes from the discussion:

“Everything today is entertainment…including our lives!”- Cindy Gallop

“We are moving towards a competitive collaboration mentality, not collaborative competition” – Cindy Gallop

“A high trust worthy environment with a positive vibe is important” – Justin Sturrock

“HR needs to be in the C-suite” – John Gerzema

Click here to watch a Periscope recording of the discussion, held at the Ogilvy Cabana at Cannes Lions 2016

Click here to watch the discussion on YouTube

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