Global viewpoint from Berlin
A view from Robin Karakash

Global viewpoint from Berlin

In Berlin these days, change is relentless. From an isolated urban island divided by geopolitics and clashing ideologies, the city has rapidly evolved into Germany’s only true international megalopolis.

Today, the German capital is united by a steady march of progress and punctuated by the construction cranes dotting an ever-expanding skyline. It is as if the city is recharging on the power of globalisation, drawing strength from an influx of new, multilingual residents who are altering every aspect of urban life.

This tumult of change is fermenting an always-evolving burst of creativity in Berlin, ushering in a renaissance of opportunity and youthful innovation. That, in turn, is fuelling a new golden age of creative communication and advertising that is changing the nature of the industry here.

And yet the city has not lost its soul. The relatively low cost of living and a prevailing sense of personal laissez-faire among its residents have kept the rebellious spirit of Berlin intact. The music scene, film festivals, art spaces and world-renowned club culture is thriving, attracting a new breed of international urban pioneer eager to make it here.

Berlin has always been different, an outlier in the constellation of German cities, for the tendency of its residents to improvise and thrive in dynamic, creative and adventurous ways. This was true of the Berlin counterculture in the 20s that flourished before World War II. Today, that same wild and untamed sense of intellectual provocation is back with a vengeance.

Berlin is building a reputation as a liberated alternative to the traditional German advertising scene

And, make no mistake, this is good for business. Fast-globalising Berlin has become an incubator for creative industries, luring waves of international capital and young expats filled with hundreds of new, technology-driven ideas. Think of it as an entrepreneurial gold rush, one being prospected by the city’s new youthful spirit and army of creatively industrious millennials.

In this environment, creative communication agencies in Berlin are coming into their own, building up ever-stronger international portfolios and accounts. More and more, international clients are seizing on the creative climate in the city and relocating their business to Berlin-based agencies. Hamburg may be the centre of Germany’s big traditional advertising scene. But Berliner agencies are building a reputation as a more scrappy, liberated and tech-adaptive alternative.

With a robust German economy and a continued influx of youthful internationalists, Berlin is poised to only see opportunity grow. A friend once told me that the most attractive thing about Berlin was its uncanny ability to keep you young. Perhaps that is the lesson of Berlin: in youth, whether in age or spirit, opportunity seems to be boundless.

Robin Karakash is the managing director at VCCP Berlin