This article was first published in the February edition of Media Pulse – Omnicom Media Group’s monthly highlights on relevant media insights, intelligence and trends.
A hundred years ago, the majority of the world’s population (we’re talkin’ “people” here) lived in rural areas. In fact, only 2-in-10 were true city-dwellers. Today, more than half of us live in cities and according to the United Nations, it’s about to get way more crowded. By the middle of this century, 7 out of 10 people will be urbanites. And in the next 15 years alone, the world’s “megacities” (places with a population of at least 10 Million) will grow by a dozen (currently at 28)… shockingly rapid growth!
A recent year-end trend outlook by Landor suggests the growth of more so-called megacities is spurring a desire for belonging. Demand for more distinct urban environments with a stronger sense of community is a major influence. Those factors, coupled with Asia as the largest growing continent for megacity expansion (duh), are triggering a massive shake-up in the tech world, too.
This advancement isn’t fueled by working in a vacuum of solitude in small towns worldwide: the tech industry recognizes it needs the kind of talent, energy and diversity big cities can offer. For that reason, places like Hong Kong and Stockholm are becoming the new tech capitals. Hong Kong, for example, has seen thousands of new start-ups in just the last few years, thanks in part to its culture and nightlife—and its one-of-a-kind access to the Chinese market.
Another key is existing industry. It’s easier to disrupt, say… the Finance industry when it’s right on your doorstep. Or say, when global marketing is knocking to be let into the urbanization boom?
The same Landor study predicts a whole lot of juxtaposition. As urban populations grow, there’ll be an abrupt shift in the way products are marketed; more homemade-type packaging and simple names. It’s part of the marketing remedy allowing consumers to still feel like individuals, even when they’re just one in 10 million. Look for more companies and products with names like Uber and Square, the naming convention that is the antithesis to the obscure, unique naming trend of the past to simply make it easier on consumers. Packaging will take on a more retro look and feel, with an artisanal personalization. Mass-market goods could move away from the sleek and delicate style we see now to a more pre-digital flavor, with flourishes like hand-lettered type, hand painted signage and old-fashioned stamping.