TUESDAY 18 JAN 2022 11:16 AM


Virtue, the creative agency behind Vice, has released new research looking at the cultural factors that influence people’s perceptions of brands. It found that 70% of global youth say their perspective on what’s important to them in life has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, with 72% now identifying with a minimalist lifestyle.

The research aimed to understand how people think of luxury and what this means for businesses in terms of reputation, loyalty, and brand purpose. The ‘New codes of luxury’ report shows that there is a cultural pressure on social notions of ‘luxury.’

Sustainability is now a greater priority for many people, with one third of young people stating that they would not purchase from a brand or company that isn’t eco-friendly in 2030. Over 75% of young people said they will not purchase from a brand or company that exploits its workers in 2030.

One respondent from the USA says, “I used to purchase items with some thought and usually based on impulse. These days, I do a lot more research and I intentionally try to find companies whose values align with my own.”

The report also found a shift towards self-expression and transparency in brand communications, with 63% stating they are now more focused on the internal alignment of their values rather than external expression.

Populations with a historically restricted access to wealth were found to value more external expressions of wealth. In populations that have easier access to building wealth, the expression of wealth is becoming significantly more subtle. Exclusivity, prestige, and extravagance are no longer the key qualities necessary to deem a product or service ‘luxury.’

The report shows that comfort, functionality, and sustainability are now the top three qualities outlining ‘luxury.’ Brands that prioritise this within its communications will connect with a post-pandemic audience.

Restricted access to travel means people are now focused on the everyday comforts, with once-yearly vacations no longer a priority for many. Comms campaigns should focus on how to provide stakeholders with a reliable and accessible form of comfort and ease.

The Virtue report revealed it is no longer enough to simply give stakeholders something to have, they need to be given something to be. Enabling people to express their personality and find their identity within products, messaging and events will build stronger and more resilient brand relationships.

Find the full report here.