Last week I was able to attend the highly insightful and inspiring TEDx Stellenbosch conference. The talks on the day where highly engaging and thought provoking. The general theme of the day was City Africa: building the continental African city. What was amazing about the day was how each speaker tackled the issue in various ways that where all worth listening too and highly informative.
There was such amazing content shared that I could go on for the whole day, I will attempt to provide some snapshots of the day. This whole topic on Cities did start to get us thinking, at OIL, about the role of cities from a marketing point of view. What is our view on cities as brands? How do cities define their identity? What makes a city?
We thought we could spend this month exploring this notion behind cities and what makes them what they are. At each point we will highlight varying aspects of city branding and marketing and sharing some insights from work we have done.
So stay tuned for more in the coming weeks…
But back to TEDx, seeing that there where so many talks and so many interesting insights, I shall attempt to list some of the talks and what the key thoughts where within them. Here goes …
Did you know that Ghana has the same internet speeds as the U.S. these where just some of the fascinating data insights shared with us by Ivan Colic, who has put together the Afrographique project. His aim with this is to tell a visually engaging story of the African continent. He had some great principles behind sharing data namely; be compelling, be convincing and the importance of the language of both the eye and mind in design
The symbiotic city
An interesting perspective shared by Cormac Cullinan about mankind and our relationship with earth. It was interesting to learn that Mother Nature actually has a bill of rights. Yup! The universal declaration rights of mother Earth. The argument in building a symbiotic city is to refrain from our industrialized ideology in growth and development at the expense of the environmental space which we occupy. We need adopt thinking that takes the earth into consideration when doing city planning
Designing for a social revolution
Urbanist and Designer, Mokena Makeka, argued for the fundamental need for public spaces in cities. He put forward the thought that public spaces are crucial for the advancement of democracy.
One of my favourite thoughts from this talk was the notion of urban energy and its power in driving growth in cities.
Crowd sourcing the African city
A fascinating talk from Idea Bounty on the power of crowdsourcing in enhancing a city and what role the local community and residents can play in moving their cities forward. Consider Iceland which is now crowdsourcing its new constitution, or even our local nameyourhood campaign. There is great potential and power in getting the people involved in building a city.
Democracy in Egypt
Prominent activist and vlogger, Sarah Abdelrahman, shared her experiences from the recent Egyptian revolution. Her view on democracy and the city belonging to the people was amazing. Check out her video blog on youtube
These where just some of the great insights that came from the day, stay close to the TED website to find the full length talks in the coming weeks.
Next week we will talk about youth perceptions on cities based on recent work we conducted.
Don’t touch that dial.
Last Thursday, OIL JHB held our second Mystery Speaker event, where we were lucky enough to bag ourselves the talented and infamous now editor of True Love, Sbu Mpungose. This would be the second time that Sbu graciously offered her time and invaluable opinions to OIL, and believe you me, we recognize just how fortunate we are!
The aim of the session was really to learn just what it takes to be successful in today’s workplace, and what it takes for an individual to climb the ladder at all – let alone at the pace that Sbu did. By the age of 23, she found herself the head editor of a magazine, and just one year later she went on to win editor of the year. Fast forward a few years later and Sbu is still making waves in the industry.
So, what were some of our lessons learnt?
1) “You might just have to take that R8-9k to get your opportunity”: It is a hard pill to swallow, but to make it in the world sometimes you will need to sacrifice in-the short term to benefit in the long.
2) “Earlier on in your career, allow yourself to stay with your employer and become fine tuned”: Sbu is an advocate for moving around in your career to better yourself while you can. As she puts it, “she has been around the block”! But she is also of strong opinion that you need to do the groundwork. You need to stick it out with an employer to develop a solid base, and learn the foundations.
3) “There is no working smart. There is working hard and becoming smart”: A rule that is punted around hugely in this industry, or any industry, is at all times to work smart, not hard. It’s a great rule isn’t it? But let’s be honest, Sbu has a point… It takes hard, in fact, very very hard work and consistent dedication to make things happen for yourself in your career. There is seldom an easy way out.
4) “Life isn’t fair. Just eventful”: A spoken like a true realist, Sbu knows about the challenges in life, and how to make the most of what you have been dealt.
She went on to speak about the nature of the magazine industry in SA: “the business of content & solutions, whether on newspaper/ magazine or digital platforms”. It is an industry which can no longer get away with “localizing international content” because South Africans “want to see themselves reflected in magazines”. We live in a nation where, finally, local really is lekka, and being ‘Proudly South African’ is not just a stamp on a logo. The Western influence will always be there and will, realistically always have its role in popular culture, but no longer is being South African something to deny. It is something that makes us very different from our counterparts, and finally we have learnt to love ourselves for it.
In speaking about True Love, Sbu was very clear about who they are talking to: “True Love woman is young, empowered and confident. She is not yet a powerhouse but well on her way.” As we in advertising know too well, knowing your audience is critical, and she sure does. She also acknowledges that one of her biggest roles is to control budgets – “Get the ever-lacking talented to take on more, while having to pay them less.” No easy feat.Probably the most interesting of statements of the day was how Sbu described her working world and perspective: “We work three months ahead. Right now (winter) it is summer in my world. In two months it will be Christmas.” Well, it’s no wonder she is so very fashion-forward and uber stylish!
It may be a rather strange visual, but when I visualise what I have learnt from Sbu, I default to an athletics track. One with different sized hurdles, kinks and potholes, but also one with trays of orange wedges on the sideline, water tanks, and massage benches. Perhaps this is inspired by the pace at which she has made things happen for herself, her infallible dedication and commitment to hard work, and the way she is constantly looking forward and never looking back.
Kathryn Aquadro, Strategic Planner, OIL JHBRead more
From the moment Pharrell landed in Jozi, the twittershepere went crazy, people losing their minds just to get a seek peek at this iconic star. Tweets come in from everywhere and Pharrell and N*E*R*D were trending in Joburg.
Almost two months and 14 concerts later, all eyes and tweets were fixed on Johannesburg’s Standard Bank Arena, where N*E*R*D performed with all nine local artists including SA legends Malaika, the ever charming Ntando, Kwela Tebza, Zuluboy and crowd pleaser DJ Tira.
The concert was AWESOME and the Tweets backed it up.
The Malaika backup dances had moves that could rival Shakira as their hips surely told no lies.
DJ Tira “killed it” in his 5 min set. Although many people were not too happy about this he but her made an impact in that short time.
And then N*E*R*D!! Well to many people Pharrell is N*E*R*D! The ladies were showing him alot of love, quoting that no man has looked or so effortlessly cool in a white t-shirt and red cap. Pharrell put on a great performance and made alot of ladies weak at the knees with an amazing performance!
The Legends in the Making Tour was more than just a concert. Like the brand Hansa, this musical showcase was refreshingly different as Hansa Pilsener brought out the special ingredient in Mzansi’s stars.